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Continuing the Vatican’s damage-control efforts regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal, including a new Associated Press investigation reporting that at least 30 accused priests have been shuffled around the globe, Pope Benedict spontaneously confirmed the need to repent for sins during a homily today. His exact words:

“I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘penance,’ which seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speaks to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is a grace.”

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Tomorrow is Pope Benedict’s 83rd birthday, he visits Malta this weekend, and Monday is the fifth anniversary of his election to succeed Pope John Paul II, so stay tuned for more Pope Watch updates, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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