Friday, September 17, 2010

Peter in England

Here is an excellent story, with great photos, from the Wall Street Journal on his historic visit.

An excerpt.

“EDINBURGH, Scotland—Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday faulted the Roman Catholic hierarchy for not acting swiftly to stop sexual abuse by priests, as he traveled to the U.K.

“The Vatican has billed the trip, the first-ever papal state visit to the U.K., as an occasion for the pope to reassert himself on the world stage and challenge Europe's drift from church teachings. After visiting Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh and presiding over a mass in Glasgow, the pope flew to London Thursday night.

“Prior to arriving in Scotland, the pope responded to written questions from reporters aboard the papal flight to the U.K., which arrived in Scotland Thursday morning.

“When asked to respond to recent polls showing the scandal had shaken the faith of British Catholics, the pope said he was "shocked by the revelations" of abuse, which he described as a "perversion that is hard to understand."

"It's sad that church authorities were not sufficiently vigilant, fast and decisive to take the necessary measures. For all of this, we are in a moment of penitence," the pope said.

“The comments were the first time the pope has directed criticism at the highest ranks of Roman Catholicism. The pope has chastised abusive priests, accepted the resignations of bishops who failed to report abuse and tightened church laws on disciplining abusive priests. He hasn't, however, delved into what some victims of abuse consider the root cause of the crisis: bishops and cardinals who cover up for abusive priests.

“Critics of the pope have called on him to order bishops and other officials to immediately report allegations of sexual abuse to police. Vatican laws have no such requirement. Church officials are required to comply with civil laws in their respective countries, but many predominantly Catholic countries, such as Italy, don't have mandatory reporting laws.

“The pope called on church authorities to ensure that abusive priests "are excluded from every form of contact with the young." He added that abusive priests suffered from a "sickness" and needed to be "protected from themselves." The pope didn't say how authorities should crack down.”