At a meeting with the Italian bishops, Benedict XVI insisted on the necessity of penance, forgiveness and justice to overcome the cases of sexual abuse committed by priests.

“What gives rise to scandal must, for us, translate into a profound reminder of the need to re-learn penance and accept purification; to learn, on the one hand, forgiveness and, on the other, the need for justice,” the Pope said.

He observed that the desire for a new evangelization in the Church “does not hide the wounds” caused by “weakness and sin of some of its members.” However, this painful situation should not obscure the “free and passionate service of many people, starting from priests.”

Benedict XVI also said this Year for Priests has been an opportunity to recognize the work of many priests who can be considered saints, like the Cure of Ars, patron of priests.

The Pope also spoke of the necessity to offer an adequate education to new generations, at a time when people are becoming exhausted by an unsustainable pace of life. He also reminded them that it’s not about transmission of information but about showing them how to relate with the world.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet