.- Expressing the "shame and humiliation" of all the Church for the suffering caused by priests who abuse children, the Holy Father hoped that through Christ victims might find peace. He stressed his "deep sorrow" for the crimes committed and hoped for healing of victims, purification of the Church and a renewal of her commitment to children.
The Pope's words to victims came during the homily of Saturday morning's Votive Mass of the Precious Blood of Christ in which he spoke of the suffering of humanity united with that of Christ on the cross.
Contemplating the mystery of Christ's precious blood, Pope Benedict said that His agony on the Cross is represented by those who suffer on earth. In martyrs it is "most eloquently" represented, he said, while it is also witnessed in the suffering of those persecuted for the faith, the ill, elderly, handicapped and everyone who suffers spiritually and mentally.
"Here too," he added, "I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers."
"Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to our lives," he said.
"I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people."
Expressing his gratitude for those efforts underway for the responsible work to confront abuse the concluded the part of his homily in which he referred to pedophilia by asking that all "show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests."