Benedict's visit

The pope’s agenda
Benedict XVI has a reputation as a blunt, rigorous teacher of doctrine, so it was perhaps surprising that the highlight of his much publicized visit to the U.S. was an unexpected private pastoral act—his meeting with people who had been sexually abused by Catholic priests. The pope’s willingness to listen to some of the painful stories behind the churchwide scandal and to look into victims’ eyes was a pastoral gesture that softened the image of this scholarly man. His act illustrated a larger truth: listening to others’ stories is not only a powerful form of ministry but one that makes more credible the public acts of preaching and teaching.


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