In first visit to Britain, Pope criticizes church’s handling of sexual abuse

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In his current visit to Britian Pope Benedict XVI criticized the Catholic Church for its response to sexual abuse by priests. He said it had not been “sufficiently vigilant” or “sufficiently swift and decisive.”

The New York Times reports: “Asked how the church could restore the faith of those shaken by the revelations of widespread priestly abuse, the pope said: ‘The first interest is the victims’ and the church needed to determine ‘how can we repair, what can we do to help them to overcome the trauma, to re-find their lives.’ He also said that priests who are guilty of abuse had a ‘sickness’ and needed to be kept away from children.”

Pope Benedict arrived in Britain today for a four-day stay. It’s the first Papal visit to Britain since 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited.

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