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CURRENT ISSUE:  May 24, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Children at great risk under Governor’s budget proposal, say aid agencies
Revised guidelines set for catechist formation
Pope says sex abuse
‘terrifying’ sin within Church

The priestly sex abuse scandal is a “terrifying” crisis that comes from inside the Church — not from an outside attack — and requires purification and penance to overcome, said Pope Benedict XVI during an in-flight press conference May 11 on his way to Portugal for a four-day visit that was to include the Marian shrine of Fatima.

Asked if the message of Fatima, which foresaw times of trials and suffering for the Church, could be applied to the sex abuse crisis, the pope indicated that, in a general way, it could. The vision of Fatima foresaw the need for the Church to undergo a “passion,” which continues in various ways until the end of time, and which requires a response of continual conversion, he said.

“Among the new things that we can discover today in this message is that attacks on the pope and the Church come not only from the outside, but the suffering of the Church comes from inside the Church, from sins that exist inside the Church,” he said.

“This, too, we have always known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way, that the biggest persecution of the Church doesn’t come from the enemies outside but is born from sin inside the Church,” he said.

“And so the Church has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn on the one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. And forgiveness does not substitute for justice,” he said.

“We have to relearn these essentials: conversion, prayer, penance,” he said.

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