Priests’ sex abuse is ‘weakness of sin’, says Pope

Vatican City, May 27 (IANS/AKI) A few members of the Catholic Church had yielded to the ‘weakness of sin’, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday, referring to the sex abuse cases that have engulfed the Vatican.

The pope, who met Catholic priests at the general assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference at the Vatican, said some members of the church had yielded to the ‘weakness of sin’. But this should not distract people from the contribution of others to the church.

‘What gives rise to scandal must, for us, translate into a profound reminder of the need to re-learn penance and accept purification; to learn, on the one hand, forgiveness and, on the other, the need for justice,’ Benedict said.

The bishops were meeting to consider pastoral guidelines for the next decade. They also adopted education as the main theme from 2010 to 2020.

For the first time earlier this week, the Catholic Church admitted that about 100 cases of clerical sex abuse had been reported to church authorities in Italy in the past 10 years.

But the bishops’ conference refused to reveal how many priests in the country had been defrocked under canon law.

This week, a priest in the northern Italian town of Savona went on trial for alleged sexual violence against a 12-year-old girl, even as an elderly priest in Milan was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.

–IANS/AKI

pm/vt