As a followup to what I posted here, we should strive to see the larger picture, the fuller account of the Holy Father’s remarks on the airplane about priests who abused minors. The New York Times has something:
Pope Expresses Deep Shame Over Priests’ Sexual Abuse
By JOHN HOLUSHA
Pope Benedict XVI said on Tuesday that he was “deeply ashamed” by the Roman Catholic Church’s child sexual-abuse scandals in the United States, and said it is causing “great suffering” for the church and “me personally.”
Speaking to reporters on an airplane taking him for his first visit to the United States as pope, he addressed the scandal in the U.S. that has produced more than 5,000 sexual abuse victims since it erupted in 2002 and cost the church more than $2 billion.
In his most extensive remarks so far on the issue, the Pope expressed his personal remorse about the abuse scandal and said the church is increasing its efforts to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
“It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” he said. “As I read the histories of those victims it is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way. Their mission was to give healing, to give the love of God to these children. We are deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible that this cannot happen in the future.”
Apparently drawing a distinction between priests with homosexual tendencies and those inclined to molest children, the Pontiff said: “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”
“Who is guilty of pedophilia cannot be a priest,” he added.
The Pope said church officials were going through the seminaries that train would-be priests to make sure that those candidates have no such tendencies. “We’ll do all that is possible to have a strong discernment, because it is more important to have good priests than to have many priests.”
“We hope that we can do, and we have done and will do in the future, all that is possible to heal this wound.”
The Pope is not new to issues involving abusive priests. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and was responsible for deciding whether to discipline priests accused of sexual abuse.
He read dossiers on the cases forwarded to him from bishops around the world. Aides said he was deeply distressed reading the accounts of victims whose trust in the church was betrayed by the priests who violated them.
In a homily he gave just before he was elected Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger decried the “filth” in the priesthood, which many interpreted as a reference to the abusers. As Pope, he ordered the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaires of Christ, to be removed from his ministry and to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penitence. Rev. Maciel died in February.
The Pope answered four questions from reporters that were submitted in advance and selected by the Vatican. He spoke for about 15 minutes.
The Pope also spoke about immigration and said he would discuss the issue with President Bush, who is scheduled to meet the Papal airplane when it lands this afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He also discussed the role of religion in America.
One of the repercussions of the child abuse scandals in the United States is that lay Catholics across the country are demanding more financial accountability from their bishops and more control over decisions, particularly when it comes to parishes.
The Pope plans to spend several days in the Washington area before traveling to New York to hold services, address the United Nations and visit a synagogue.
So, that is a somewhat fuller account that what La Reppubblica issued, isn’t it!