Is the tide of opinion
turning? An editorial in Monday’s
London Telegraph points out that although Pope Benedict did not directly
mention the sex abuse scandal in his Easter Sunday sermon, “we know what he thinks of the scandal from his pastoral letter to
Irish Catholics a fortnight ago”. The newspaper quoted the Pope’s words
expressing “the shame and remorse that we all feel” towards the victims of
abuse at the hands of Catholic priests: “You have suffered grievously and I am
truly sorry… your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated”.
The editorial goes on to say “he has been prominent in the battle to expose
abusers and those who have protected them”.
The main point made by the Telegraph, in
fact, is that the rest of the Vatican has been lagging behind in understanding
the seriousness of the sex abuse crisis. While praising the sensitivity of the
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales,
Repairing the damage caused by the
child-abuse scandal will be a long process but cannot even start until the
Vatican demonstrates the same determination to root out abuse – and the same
penitence – as Pope Benedict himself has shown.