The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said this week cases of alleged sexual abuse by members of the clergy are an “attack on the identity and mission” of priests and should not overshadow the work of the vast majority of priests.
In a press conference at Lorenzago di Cadore, near where the Pope is vacationing, Cardinal Bertone responded to questions about the news that the Los Angeles Archdiocese will pay out over $600 million in settlement payments for clerical sex abuse cases.
According to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Bertone underscored “the overwhelming vastness of the problem” and that “the Catholic priests implicated in this crime” are attacking “the great mission of the Church herself.” “Certainly this is a problem that is painful for everyone. In the Church and outside,” he added.
At the same time, he continued, the Church receives expressions of gratitude from all over the world for the work she does to help humanity. “We receive thanks from presidents and ministers of Muslim countries as well for the works of the Church in so many sectors,” the cardinal stated, especially in the area of health care, the fight against hunger and education.
“The vastness of the painful phenomenon in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is overwhelming. And, although we’re talking about a minority in comparison with the percentage of social workers who commit these crimes, it is an attack on the identity and the mission that we have to develop,” he said.