So says a leading newspaper in Great Britain.
This, from The Independent:
Pope Benedict XVI is planning to make the first general apology for the abuse of children and minors by Roman Catholic priests when he meets thousands of clergymen from around the world in June at the climax of the International Year for Priests, Vatican sources say.
In the past there have been papal or church apologies for individual cases of paedophilia or for abuse in specific countries, for example during the German pontiff’s recent visit to Malta. What is being prepared now would be the first time a pope seeks to atone publicly for the extent to which paedophilia has been a major stain on the modern history of the church touching a constellation of countries, say the sources at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. It could be considered comparable to the historic step that the previous pope, John Paul II, took in apologising to the Jews for historic church anti-Semitism and for misdeeds during the Crusades, they say.
Vatican officials hope such an unprecedented act of penance by Benedict, together with thousands of clergymen in St Peter’s Square, 9-11 June, will do much to lay to rest the scandal and defuse protests that might disrupt his trip to Britain in September. The encounter will form the climax of the special year of events designed in part to encourage vocations to the cloth but which instead has been marred by the mushrooming paedophile scandal.
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