Expressing Remorse Is Not Enough

Gulf News
September 19, 2010

On Saturday during mass in London's historic Westminster Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI said he was ashamed of the "unspeakable" sexual abuse of children by priests, adding he was deeply sorry and hoped that the church's humiliation would help its victims to heal.

While Benedict's head-on confrontation of the issue and apology are welcome, they offer little comfort for the thousands of victims of sexual abuse inflicted by church officials in Western Europe and North America.

The victims have suffered psychological abuse, guilt, remorse, addictions and suicide as a result of the trauma inflicted by priests. Residential, institutional and educational establishments, all under the auspices of the Catholic Church, were dens of abuse, where priests preyed on the innocent with little risk of being caught or punished.

Victims of abuse need to see perpetrators punished fully, not simply transferred while their vile crimes are covered up. Only then can survivors begin to heal.

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