.- Pope Benedict XVI is leading a âself-examinationâ of the Church to rid it of the individuals who are responsible for perpetrating or mishandling cases of pedophilia, according to the Italian Bishopsâ Conference (CEI) president, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.
Expressing his âshame and remorseâ for the victimsâ experiences, Cardinal Bagnasco vowed to pursue, âinside and outside the Church,â those who failed to bring sex abusers to justice.
During an interview published on Sunday in Italyâs ilsole24ore.com, he was asked for his perspective on the recent media frenzy for and against the actions of the Holy Father and others Church leaders in their handling of sexual abuse of children by priests.
âPedophilia ... is an odious crime,â he said, adding that âitâs also a scandalously serious sinâ which in all cases is âaberrantâ as it "betrays the educational relationship." When it involves a consecrated person, he said, âit acquires an even greater seriousness.â
In confronting cases of clerical sex abuse, Cardinal Bagnasco commended the âsevere actionâ of the Pope in leading a self-examination of the Church that aims âto purify itself of single members that have painfully obfuscated its image and credibility.â
The president of the CEI acknowledged that these âcleaningâ efforts which cooperate with the civil courts, âcannot erase the suffering and the disenchantment of the victims: children and youth that were betrayed in their spontaneous trust."
âTo each of the violated persons, to their families,â he added, âI feel shame and remorse, especially in those cases in which they werenât listened to by (those) who should have immediately intervened.â
The interview also included Cardinal Bagnascoâs responses to a great variety of questions on contemporary themes that affect Church and society in Italy. Among other things, he spoke of the important role that schools play in integrating immigrants, of the economic crisis which shows a social and cultural crisis, and of the âenormous potentialâ new media has for connecting people.
Cardinal Bagnasco also expressed the continued support of the bishops and âthe entire Italian Churchâ for the efforts of Benedict XVI in the face of the "gratuitous and defamatory accusationsâ directed at him.