Pope Benedict has said he was "deeply ashamed" over sexual abuse that shook the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, and vowed to do everything possible to avoid a repeat scandal. "We will absolutely exclude paedophiles from the sacred ministry," he told reporters aboard the plane taking them to Washington for his first visit to the United States as pope. "We are deeply ashamed and will do whatever is possible so that this does not happen in the future." The trip is the first by a pontiff since a wave of sex abuse scandals began in 2002, provoking lawsuits that have forced dioceses to pay more than $2 billion in settlements.
That's good as far as it goes, but will he discipline the bishops who are responsible for the scandals, and will he clean out the seminaries that produced the bad priests? It will take decades to recover from the corruption of the priesthood. Pope John Paul II was a great man, but he wasn't able to deal with this problem forthrightly. I think he may have trusted his bishops in America too much. I pray that Pope Benedict will institute true reforms.