May 11th, 2010
10:26 AM ET

Pope calls reality of sex abuse scandal 'terrifying'

Pope Benedict XVI made one of his strongest statements to date on the sex abuse scandal sweeping the Roman Catholic Church, saying Tuesday the reality he has seen is "terrifying."

And he distanced himself from criticism of the media by senior Vatican officials, saying the most important attacks on the church don't come from the outside, they come from the sins of the members of the church, CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen said.

Benedict was speaking on his plane en route to Portugal, where he is making a four-day visit.

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Terrifying? He has no idea. Imagine being a young boy, all alone, being sodomized behind the alter by the priest your family has respected for years.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. MartinSA

    @indyreader:

    since when is the notion of redemption and forgiveness "mush-brained magical thinking"? removing the religious aspect–the spiritual side (which can be completely independent of a belief in any higher power)' of human psychology craves validation and acceptance to a community. human beings are social creatures. forgiveness and redemption allows those individuals whom have alienated themselves for one action or another to be reincorporated to the group. From a psychological standpoint, by declaring a standard it draws the line that anything ranked equal or greater to that standard is a line the prevents that reintroduction to society. essentially that individual can never be "good" enough and therefore shouldn't even try.

    following the conclusion of that logic leads to some very terrifying concepts.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. michelle

    Lets not arrest the pope, but pray he can turn the church around by leading each and every soul intot the gates of heaven and to fight the devil to the end. We need leadership in the church and i believe if each and everyone of us gets on our knees despite what religion we are, Pray for the victims, their families, the pope the church- Pray we can defeat the devil and not lead us into temptation. Stand behind what is good and pray for our priests.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    This problem has gone on for too long and it is time that more of these animals in the churches face the law courts and spend some time in prison. The pope did his part to cover up the mess when he had the chance to have done something about it therefore he should step aside and hang his head in shame...fancy talk means nothing to the hundreds of victims out there.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. mom

    I think since the begining priest have fallowed the words of god, but even god him self to those who believe would even say what happend to me and people around be 4000CB shouldn't reflact word for for now in 2010. Times change and so does the teaching. and Its time the Pope and the churchs start to see that. If all the other relegious faiths out there marry then our priest should be able too also. Why should a priest no be able to expience love comitment and still love god and teach god ways. I am Catholic and i dont believe that conception was magical to Mary they screwed and didn't want to admit cause back then it might have been taboo to do that. Jesus was sheltered didn't know what love was.
    Doesn't mean priest cant.
    A priest can still marry and pray for 12 hour a day. rather it men to man or woman to man. Most catholic churches now are very acepting to gay couples and as a Catholic i'm proud of that.

    Pope forcing men to hide feels they 99% of the time never had and want is wrong!!! the popes are making pedofiles in not allowing them see love and live with love and god!

    I think its time what we fellow catholics march to open the churchs to marriage for priests! Stop the abuse to these people and kids NOW Pope XVI allow your priests to marry, I dont care if you restrict it to 1 marriage . But allow them to find, expience love to some one there age .

    May 11, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    The Pope protected priest who engaged in molesting children in the church. Now he finds it terrifying. What is terrifying is the church looking the other way when there has been evidence of molestation by priest for many years. What is terrifying is the church looking the other way in order to protect their holdings.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. MartinSA

    @Teresa Kent, OH:

    You do bring up a good point. Regardless of what is happening the Church should act. The problem is that whatever the Church decides, it has to synch up with doctrine and faith while not alienating those individuals in some underdeveloped nations where the age of consent is much different than in the west.

    As it stands, the current reaction of the RC is very much on par. The secular world doesn't understand by and large how the Church operates and follows the media's hype (re: Da Vinci Code for a prime example) while the Church leaders can't fathom how or why they're perceived the way they are. While the mass media dance continues, the Church's theologians are hard at work coming up with a doctrine change or adjustment without establishing a hard standard.

    My bet is that the solution they establish will be a doctrine focused on priest authority abuses in regards to the rest of their parish. Essentially, equating to such abuse of priestly power as akin to an act that blasphamies their relationship to the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the secular world will focus on the mass media spin that will miss the subtle impact of such a doctrine that would truly address the problem.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    For those who do not know something is beign done to address the issue. Anyone heard of Protecting God's children program? It was established way before all this recent scandals broke out. You should look into it, http://www.virtus.org/virtus/virtus_description.cfm

    The issue of pedophilia is not related to celibacy, in fact many of the abuses that take place globaly are done by married men, just look at the reports of school teachers and other people abusing children.

    The Church has done mistakes, yes, and the Pope has recognized those mistakes. At the same time the Church is being attack by the media by not givine a full picture of the situation.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ituri

    He's only horrified because he got caought. Too little, too late.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. michelle

    We shouldnt arrest the pope, We should be arresting the devil. If you let these evil things take you away from church, your love for God, then the devil accomplished what he set out to do. Pray and keep going to church, keep your eyes on God and the love of jesus – these are the things that will save you in the end. Pray for the pope that he can become a leader in our fight against the Evil darkness temptation in this world. Dont let the devil win

    May 11, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Burbank

    Besides being riddled with child molesters, the church is also based on centuries of lies. I guess the clergy think the commandments don't apply to themselves, just the unwashed masses they rule over. For starters Mary was made a virgin at the council of Nicea. It was a political decision made to control women – you know – those awful creatures that eat apples and tempt men (and cause earthquakes if they show a little skin??). Jesus was born in the normal way of course, but the virginity of Mary has been put about as the "Gospel Truth" for the last 1700 years or so. Even all the protestant religions perpetrate the BIG LIE although they may not know any better. The upper echelons of the Catholic Church know better however but they allow it to continue! This religion is just plain evil!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mikey

    Agreed – he is only terrified because the church got caught and now it looks like he was personally culpable for allowing the pedophiles to flourish. He forgot the basics of deniability.

    Don't write it if you can say it.
    Don't say it if you can nod.
    Don't nod if you can wink.
    And always keep a patsy on hand.

    When is the careeer criminal cardinal bernie law coming back to the US?

    May 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Burbank

    Nonsense and crocodile tears! The only thing the Pope is terrified about is that the church could shut down due to all the corruption and lies and he might have to get a real job for the first time in his life!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    Michelle, you sound just like the Pope. "Lets not arrest the Pope" are you joking? I think you take this religion stuff too serious and what you just said is what these Priest has been doing for years. Praying that they don't get caught. The Pope don't just need to be fired, he needs to be hung on the cross for covering up these horrible acts. The worst part of this is that he is actually acting like this is new and that he don't know about these "horrible, terrifying acts"... I think he has been covering up this stuff since he was a teen. He has seen and maybe participated in some of these acts ,and if he hasn't guess what? Him covering this up is just like doing it yourself. They means that the Pope himself is a child molester and I know that seems like a harsh thing to say about the "MAN" that so many people think of like as JESUS CHRIST of something. This man is a crook and need to be sent away for a long time. taking a priest collar anit good enough for me. They should get treated just like everybody else and go to prison because they are sick and needs to be locked up. Praying aint enough for us real humans who know a molester when we see one. Lets pray that all these children that got hut gets the JUSTICE they deserve.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    Even if some of the memebers of the Church act not in accordance to God's law the Church remains Holy through the merits of Christ.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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