Pope Benedict XVI Condemns Child Abuse By Priests

By: Nicole Winfield - AP Writer
By: Nicole Winfield - AP Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI condemned the abuse of children by priests Monday, saying the church will never stop deploring such behavior.

For centuries, the Catholic Church has shown its commitment to
loving and respecting children and ensuring their basic human
rights are respected, Benedict told members of the Vatican's
Pontifical Council for the Family.

"Unfortunately in some cases, some of its members - acting in
contrast to this commitment - have violated these rights, a
behavior that the church hasn't, and won't ever stop deploring and
condemning," he said.

Benedict's comments came as he is finalizing a letter to the
Irish faithful concerning Ireland's massive church sex abuse and
cover-up scandal.

Irish government-ordered investigations published last year
documented decades of abuse by priests as well as the church's
Dickensian network of residences for troubled Irish boys and girls
where physical, psychological and sexual abuse was rampant.

In addition, the investigations showed how the Dublin
Archdiocese covered up the abuse.

Four bishops have announced their resignations for failing to
tell police about abuse cases. But Benedict has confirmed only the
departure of Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick.

In the wake of the reports, Benedict summoned all of Ireland's
bishops to the Vatican for an extraordinary meeting Feb. 15-16. He
plans to release a letter to Ireland's 4 million Catholics
afterward.

The U.S.-based victims support group Survivors Network of those
Abused by Priests called Benedict's comments Monday "meaningless
and self-serving."

"How many times does the pope get to 'condemn' clergy sexual
abuse while doing virtually nothing to stop it?" asked Barbara
Dorris, the group's outreach director. "How many times will he try
to divert attention away from the complicity of bishops and focus
exclusively on the crimes of the predators?"

In his speech Monday, Benedict said children deserved to be
loved and respected by all - and that they flourish best in a
family. He stressed his long-standing position that a family is
founded on the marriage between a man and woman - and that couples
should do everything possible to avoid separation and stay together
for the sake of their children.

"They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one
another; they need to live with and grow up with both parents,
because the maternal and paternal figures are complementary in
educating children and in building their personalities and
identities," the pope said.


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