National Catholic Register

Opinion

Pope Benedict, Abuse and Youth

BY Father Owen Kearns, LC

July 20-26, 2008 Issue | Posted 7/15/08 at 12:35 PM

 

Pope Benedict XVI surprised nearly everyone when he made personal apologies for past sex abuse by clergy a centerpiece of his U.S. visit three months ago.

Now that he is in Sydney for World Youth Day, the surprise is gone. Abuse is a chief topic in the Australian media. The Holy Father told reporters aboard his plane en route to Sydney: “We have to consider what was insufficient in our behavior and how we can prevent, heal, reconcile. This is the essential content of what we will say as we apologize.”

In other words, he is bringing his message of healing around the world.

Americans were very grateful and heartened by the message here, and many said it allowed them to return to their faith. Australia will see the same transformation. After all, they’ll see something Americans didn’t: hundreds of thousands of young people shouting and singing their enthusiasm for the faith, proving that love is the real legacy of the Church.