Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that the church is at fault for abuse by clergy and it is not an outside campaign, according to news from the Associated Press
LISBON, Portugal – Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday blamed the church's own sins for the clerical abuse scandal — not a campaign mounted by outsiders — and called for profound purification to end what he called the "greatest persecution" the church has endured.
His strong comments placed responsibility for the crisis squarely on the sins of pedophile priests, repudiating the Vatican's initial response to the scandal in which it blamed the media as well as pro-choice and pro-gay marriage advocates for mounting what it called a campaign against the church and the pope.
Speaking en route to Portugal, Benedict said the Catholic church had always suffered from problems of its own making but that "today we see it in a truly terrifying way."
"The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church," the pontiff said. "The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice."
The comments marked Benedict's most thorough admission of the church's own guilt in creating the scandal. Previously he has blamed abusers themselves and, in the case of Ireland, the bishops who failed to stop them.