Pope Benedict XVI begged forgiveness for sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests at a Vatican gathering on June 11 of nearly 15,000 clergy, concluding the celebration of the “Year for Priests.” The pontiff pledged on that final day to do “everything possible” to stop “sin within the church,” but victims’ groups say they want action, not apologies or promises.
Vatican critic Hans Küng has warned against “condemning the church and its priests wholesale” for the current spate of sexual abuse allegations. “It would be a bad generalization to place the whole clergy and Catholic Church under suspicion,” the Roman Catholic priest said in an interview with the European, a Berlin-based online news service.
Days after being elected pope, Pope Benedict XVI referred to one of Europe’s patron saints, Benedict of Nursia, as he explained his choice of papal name to thousands of pilgrims massed in St. Peter’s Square.
American victims of clerical sexual abuse protested at the Vatican after a New York Times article detailed letters and documents suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI, before becoming pope, personally mishandled the case of a Wisconsin priest who molested up to 200 deaf boys more than 35 years ago.