FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The pope is finally admitting that the Catholic Church itself is to blame for the worldwide child sex abuse scandal. It took long enough.
Pope Benedict XVI calls the crisis "truly terrifying" and suggests "the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church."
Benedict also stresses that quote "forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."
It's refreshing to finally hear the pope talk about this growing crisis head-on. For weeks, as accusations piled up, we've heard other Catholic officials blame anyone but the pedophile priests and officials who covered it all up.
They blamed the media, they blamed homosexuality, and they described the whole affair as "petty gossip."
But thanks in part perhaps to the relentless reporting of the scope of the scandal worldwide by the media, the pope is now talking; and he will likely be controlling the message from here on out.
Hopefully this is a sign that the pope, who's been criticized for not taking enough actions against allegations of abuse, understands how deeply this crisis has affected the Catholic Church. But so far it's just all talk.
Victims groups want more than talk… and rightfully so.
Here’s my question to you: Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Here we go again. Time now for another chapter in the tawdry tale titled: The Pope and the Pedophile Priests.
The New York Times reports that top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - refused to defrock a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.
Deaf boys? Doesn't get much sicker than that. This is despite the fact that several American bishops repeatedly warned the Vatican about this creep.
Church files show that although officials disagreed about whether the priest should be dismissed, their top priority was protecting the church from scandal. Of course.
This Wisconsin priest - the Rev. Lawrence Murphy - was never tried or disciplined by the church. He also got a pass from police and the criminal justice system. We all know the story by now... Instead he was "quietly moved" to a different diocese where he spent the last 24 years of his life freely working… ready? With children! He died in 1998... still a priest.
The Vatican calls this case "tragic" and says part of the reason the priest was never defrocked was his poor health and lack of more recent accusations.
Meanwhile this comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal spreading across Europe - From the pope's native Germany to Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands.
There are other accusations against Pope Benedict that he didn't alert authorities or discipline priests who were sexually abusing children, when he was both an Archbishop in Germany and the Vatican's top doctrinal enforcer.
Critics say it's time for the pope to resign. But that's only happened a handful of times throughout history - and not for 600 years - so don't hold your breath.
Here’s my question to you: In light of the pope’s role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?
It's time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century; or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th. On his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said condoms are not a solution to the AIDS epidemic; rather, they make it worse.
Pope Benedict XVI believes condoms hinder the AIDS crisis.
In his first public comments on condom use, the pope told reporters that AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems." Huh?
Since becoming pope four years ago, Benedict has stressed that the church is on the front lines of the battle against AIDS; with the Vatican encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.
Obviously that message hasn't delivered the desired results in Africa where parts of the continent have been ravaged by AIDS. Not to mention right here in our nation's capital: a new report shows three percent of Washington D.C.'s residents have HIV or AIDS. That translates to almost 3,000 people for every 100,000 population. That figure represents a "severe epidemic." One health official says Washington's rates are higher than parts of West Africa - and "on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."
Here’s my question to you: The pope says condoms aren't the solution to AIDS; they make it worse. Is he right?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
(PHOTO CREDIT: AP)
The buzz began before the papal plane had even touched down. There were rumors beginning to circulate that Benedict XVI might actually meet with victims of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The Holy Father said he would speak forcefully and directly about the shame the scandal has brought upon the church.
But talking to the victims was something that had never happened, not at that level. And yet for true healing to actually begin this is what was necessary.
And it did. Without fanfare Benedict XVI this afternoon met with a small group of people who were sexually abused by priests. No reporters, no cameras, private, personal, and profound. We are told the Pope listened to their stories and prayed with them.
There is a very long way to go if in fact it is even possible for the Catholic Church to ever overcome the effects of this, but it's a start.
Here’s my question to you: How far has Pope Benedict XVI gone toward healing the wounds of the church's sex abuse scandal?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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