"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," Benedict said. "It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children."Bingo.
"I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future," the pope said.
Benedict pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Roman Catholic church.
"We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry," Benedict said in English. "It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound."...
Pedophilia is "absolutely incompatible" with the priesthood," Benedict said.
Vatican officials selected four questions to be read by the journalists to the pontiff aboard the plane.
Benedict described his pilgrimage as a journey to meet a "great people and a great Church." He spoke about the American model of religious values within a system of separation of church and state....
The pope said he will discuss immigration with Bush, including the difficulties of families who are separated by immigration.
Perino said the two leaders would likely discuss human rights, religious tolerance and the fight against violent extremism.SVILUPPO: More, from the Times:
As for the war in Iraq, Perino said, "Obviously, there were differences years back." She downplayed those, emphasizing instead a strong bond between Bush and the pope.
Abuse victims' advocates said Benedict's comments on the scandal did not go far enough.
Peter Isely, a board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the establish child protection policies for the worldwide church, and there should be penalties for church leaders who fail to discipline predatory priests.
"It's easy and tempting to continually focus on the pedophile priests themselves," Isely said. "It's harder but crucial to focus on the broader problem - complicity in the rest of the church hierarchy."
“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.”PHOTO: Reuters
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.”...
[On immigration] “I have seen the breadth of this problem above all the grave problem of the separation of families,” Pope Benedict said. “This really is dangerous for the fabric social, moral, human of these countries.” He said it was important to think about both long-term and short-term solutions. “The fundamental solution is that there would be no need to emigrate because there would be sufficient jobs,” he said.
Asked if the United States could serve as a religious model Europe and other areas of the world, the Pope replied, ”Certainly Europe can’t simply copy the United States. We have our own history. We all have to learn from each other.”
But he said the United States was interesting because it “started with positive idea of secularism.”
“This new people was made of communities that had escaped official state purges and wanted a lay state, a secular that opened the possibility for all confessions and all form of religious exercise,” he added. “Therefore it was a state that was intentionally secular. It was the exact opposite of state religion, but it was secular out of love for religion and for an authenticity that can only be lived freely.”