Pope Benedict blames 'sin inside the church' for Vatican woes
Pope Benedict XVI made his most direct comments to date about the sexual abuse scandals that have hit the Catholic church in Europe. He said the Vatican's problems were 'born from sin inside the church' and called for 'justice.'
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Nowhere has the effort to redress the sins of the past been greater than in Ireland. On May 6, the Vatican accepted the resignation of Irish Bishop Joseph Duffy, who said he was aware of abuse accusations against a priest but did not inform the police. Three other Irish bishops, named in government reports about mishandled abuse claims, have had their resignations accepted.Skip to next paragraph
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Church doing enough?
Pat Buckley, an Irish bishop considered a renegade, says the pace of change is still too slow. "The church still hasn't accepted the resignations of some of the bishops. As the politician Alan Dukes recently said, perhaps the way forward is for everyone to resign and the church to then reorganize," he said.
The Catholic Communications Office in Ireland told the Monitor that resignation is a personal decision. The scandals, which date to exposure of priests' sexual abuse in 1994, were reignited by two government reports last year.
Deirdre Kerry, with Irish child-abuse charity One in Four, says the church has improved, but that more consistency and transparency is needed.
"The church does now have very robust child-protection guidelines," she says. "The problem is that ... it comes down to the discretion of the bishop." The Report of the Ferns Inquiry, published in 2005, criticized former bishops of the Ferns diocese in Ireland for failing to deal with the allegations of sexual abuse made against priests. Priests had been moved to different parishes or sent for psychological treatment.
Theologian Vincent Twomey, a friend of Pope Benedict's, acknowledges that the church made grave mistakes and is now rectifying them. "I have come around to the following point of view," he says. "First of all, it's a wake-up call – bad things were done and we have to deal with that. Secondly, for the first time since the Reformation, Irish Catholics will have to choose to be Catholics."
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