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Full text of Benedict XVI: ‘The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse’

In a previously unpublished essay, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addresses the sex abuse scandal, its context, and the Church’s response to it.

April 10, 2019 Catholic News Agency

On February 21 to 24, at the invitation of Pope Francis, the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences gathered at the Vatican to discuss the current crisis of the faith and of the Church; a crisis experienced throughout the world after shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors.

The extent and gravity of the reported incidents has deeply distressed priests as well as laity, and has caused more than a few to call into question the very Faith of the Church. It was necessary to send out a strong message, and seek out a new beginning, so to make the Church again truly credible as a light among peoples and as a force in service against the powers of destruction.

Since I myself had served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the Church at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, and during the run-up to it, I had to ask myself – even though, as emeritus, I am no longer directly responsible – what I could contribute to a new beginning.

Thus, after the meeting of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences was announced, I compiled some notes by which I might contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour.

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