Pope Benedict XVI. Has spoken out on sexual abuse by Catholic priests and religious in Australia. The Catholic News Agency (KNA) documents an excerpt from the Pope's homily to bishops, priests and seminarians in Sydney on Saturday in its own translation.
"Here I would like to pause to express the shame we have all felt over the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. Indeed, I am very sorry for the pain and suffering that the victims have endured, and I are them that as their shepherd, I suffer with them. These offenses, which constitute such a serious breach of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great suffering and damaged the witness of the Church. I ask all of you to support and stand by your bishops and work with them to fight this evil. Victims should experience solidarity and care; those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice. Promoting a safer and healthier environment, especially for young people, is an urgent priority. In these days marked by the celebration of World Youth Day, we are reminded of what a precious treasure we are entrusted with in our young people and of the great extent to which the mission of the Church in this country is dedicated to their education and care. As the Australian Church, in the spirit of the Gospel, continues to effectively address this serious pastoral challenge, I unite with you in prayer that this time of purification will bring healing, reconciliation and even greater confidence in the moral demands of the Gospel." (CBA