Taking a leadership role

Pope Benedict XVI. Has encouraged British bishops to fight sexual abuse within the church and in society. At a meeting in Birmingham Sunday night, he urged Catholic leaders from England, Wales and Scotland to take a leadership role in addressing problems facing society as a whole.

The "shameful abuse" of children and young people by clerics has seriously undermined the credibility of church leaders, Benedict XVI noted. firmly. The incidents would have violated trust on three levels: between pastors and the faithful, between priests and their bishops, and between church leaders and the public. In doing so, the pope also spoke of "often inadequate approaches" in the past.

Meanwhile, the bishops have taken "serious steps" to protect children and deal transparently with accusations, the church leader said. Now church leaders should bring their experience with the extent and consequences of child abuse to extra-church sectors of society as well. There is no better way to "make reparation for these sins" than to "reach out in a humble attitude of compassion to the children who continue to suffer abuse elsewhere," the pope said.

Further, Benedict XVI called. called on the bishops to take action against social hardships caused by the "spectre of unemployment" and by the financial crisis. The "prophetic voice of Christians" plays an important role in shining a spotlight on the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, he said. This is especially true in the face of "increasing cynicism" about social virtues, the 83-year-old said.

In their Christian preaching in a "strongly secularized environment," bishops must not exclude those aspects of the Gospel that challenge common opinions, the pope admonished. He expressly called on church leaders to take advantage of the offer of the new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. Benedict XVI. Had launched this Vatican agency in June; its official launch is expected in the coming days.

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