VATICAN CITY, (UPI)--Pope John Paul II Thursday for the first time ever addressed the sex abuse cases that have been plaguing the Roman Catholic Church, saying the "scandal" cast a "dark shadow" on all priests.
At this time ... we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of Ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mysterium iniquitatis (the mystery of evil) at work in the world," the pope said in his annual message to priests worldwide.
The church has been dogged by a series of child abuse charges against priests and has had to settle some of those claims. Last week, the Boston archdiocese, the largest in the United States, agreed to pay up to $30 million to pay 86 plaintiffs under a settlement involving molestation charges against one priest.
Also last week, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk acknowledged that a "few" employees of the archdiocese had been accused of sexual abuse over the years.
"Grave scandal is caused, with the result that a dark shadow of suspicion is cast over all the other fine priests who perform their ministry with honesty and integrity and often with heroic self-sacrifice," the pope said. "The Church shows her concern for the victims and strives to respond in truth and justice to each of these painful situations."