Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Pope speaks of 'deep sorrow' over child abuse scandal

Pope Benedict XVI addresses pilgrims who have gathered in Westmister Cathedral Piazza
Pope Benedict XVI addresses pilgrims who have gathered in Westmister Cathedral Piazza
Anne Widdecombe, signs autographs, before Pope Benedict XVI, arrives to greet the crowd gathered to greet him outside, following a mass at Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI addresses pilgrims who have gathered in Westmister Cathedral Piazza
Members of the crowd gather outside Westminster Cathedral, in central London as Pope Benedict XVI, celebrates Mass
Pilgrims wait for Pope Benedict XVI at Westmister Cathedral Piazza
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and wife Cherie, during a Mass presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI attends a Mass at Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI conducts a Mass at Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI addresses pilgrims who have gathered in Westmister Cathedral Piazza
Police monitor the crowd outside Westminster Cathedral as Pope Benedict XVI conducts Mass
Pope Benedict XVI meets with acting Labour leader Harriet Harman at Archbishop's House, near Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI attends a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Archbishop's House, near Westminster Cathedral
A young girl holds an image of Pope Benedict XVI as he celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral
Pope Benedict XVI greets former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher in Westminster Hall
Pope Benedict XVI during a Celebration of Evening Prayer, at Westminster Abbey
Former British Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg await Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall
Dean of Westminster John Hall (R) escorts Pope Benedict XVI (2nd R) as he arrives at Westminster Abbey
Pope Benedict XVI leaves Lambeth Palace in the 'Popemobile' for the short journey to Westminster Hall
Pope Benedict XVI meets Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace
Pope Benedict XVI leaves Westminster Hall in the 'Popemobile' in central London
Former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair (right) and Gordon Brown await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall, London
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown greets Cherie Blair as they wait for Pope Benedict XVI to arrive to give a speech at Westminster Hall, London
Pope Benedict XVI is embraced by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams during a Celebration of Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey
Pope Benedict XVI is embraced by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams during a Celebration of Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey
Pope Benedict XVI crosses Lambeth Bridge on his way to the Houses of Parliament after meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury
Pope Benedict XVI crosses Lambeth Bridge on his way to the Houses of Parliament after meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury
Pope Benedict XVI crosses Lambeth Bridge on his way to the Houses of Parliament after meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury
Pope Benedict XVI greets a young child as he arrives for a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in SW London
Pope Benedict XVI during The Big Assembly a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
Pope Benedict XVI during The Big Assembly a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
MP Peter Tatchell joins other protesters during a demonstration, as Pope Benedict XVI arrives at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in South West London
MP Peter Tatchell joins other protesters during a demonstration, as Pope Benedict XVI arrives at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in South West London
Pope Benedict XVI during The Big Assembly a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
Pope Benedict XVI during The Big Assembly a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
People look on as Pope Benedict XVI attends The Big Assembly a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
A school girl holds a decorated crucifix and a Papal flag as she watches Pope Benedict XVI at The Big Assembly gathering at St Mary's University College during day two of his four day state visit at Twickenham
Benedict XVI arrives for a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in London
A nun passes through a security checkpoint during preparations for Pope Benedict XVI visit to St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London
Children with their cameras await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for his visit to St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London
A nun walks past police officers during preparations for Pope Benedict XVI arrival at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London
Police motorcyclists prepare for Pope Benedict XVI arrival at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London
Pope Benedict XVI greets school children as he arrives at St Mary's University College at Twickenham
Signs on the pavement outside St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London, before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI travels in the back of a car as he passes protestors on his arrival at St Mary's University College during day two of his four day state visit to the United Kingdom at Twickenham
Protestors are watched by police before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for his visit to St Mary's University College, Twickenham, in south west London
Pope Benedict XVI during a mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow
Pope Benedict XVI during a mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow
Pope Benedict XVI arrives for the Papal Mass at Bellahouston Park on September 16, 2010 in Glasgow
Pope Benedict XVI during a mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow
Susan Boyle performs at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, ahead of an open-air mass by Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a young child as he arrives for the Papal Mass at Bellahouston Park on September 16, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland
Baby Maria Tyszczak with her mother Marzena Tyszczak, who Pope Benedict XVI blessed, as he arrived at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park ahead of an open-air mass during the first day of a four day visit to the United Kingdom
Guests wait to greet Pope Benedict XVI in the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during day one of his four day state visit to the United Kingdom
The Reverend Ian Paisley joined a protest in Edinburgh against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI
A demonstrator in Edinburgh as Pope Benedict XVI begins his first papal state visit to the UK
Joseph O'Driscoll originally from Dublin protests with a placard along Lothian Road, Edinburgh ahead of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI pass Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond (left) as they walk through the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
The Reverend Ian Paisley (right) joins a protest in Edinburgh against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI walk through the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh listen as Pope Benedict XVI addresses a crowd in the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI meet school children outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, on September 16, 2010 in Edinburgh
Pilgrims gather before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for the Papal Mass at Bellahouston Park on September 16, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland
Pilgrims gather ahead of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for the Papal Mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI meet school children outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland
The Reverend Ian Paisley joins a protest in Edinburgh against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
The Reverend Ian Paisley joins a protest in Edinburgh against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
The Reverend Ian Paisley speaks to the press outside the Magdalen Chapel, Edinburgh, after protesting against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
The Reverend Ian Paisley speaks to the press outside the Magdalen Chapel, Edinburgh, after protesting against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in the city earlier in the day for a four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI rides in the Popemobile down Edinburgh's Princes Street on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI replaces his zucchetto after the British national anthem is played during his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Members of the public in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park ahead of an open-air mass by Pope Benedict XVI, as he begins the first papal state visit to the UK
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh talk with Pope Benedict XVI during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh walk with Pope Benedict XVI to the Morning Drawing Room in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II exchanges gifts with Pope Benedict XVI during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth II greets Pope Benedict XVI at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Benedict XVI as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (left) and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (right) watch on at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI replaces his zucchetto as he meets with Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI replaces his zucchetto as he meets with Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI is met by the Duke of Edinburgh as he arrives in Scotland to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Pope Benedict XVI is met by the Duke of Edinburgh as he arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Pope Benedict XVI is met by the Duke of Edinburgh (left) as he arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
A close up view of the shoes worn by Pope Benedict XVI as he arrives in Scotland to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
The altar at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Scotland to begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Merchandise commemorating the State Papal visit at grounds of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, ahead of a mass by Pope Benedict
Flag sellers in Edinburgh ahead of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in, where he will begin the first papal state visit to the UK
The altar at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom
Preparations continue at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom
Preparations continue at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom
A member of the public wearing a kilt and holding a bag commemorating the State Papal visit at grounds of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, ahead of a mass by Pope Benedict
The grounds of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, ahead a mass by Pope Benedict
An advert on a billboard by the Good Without God organization in Glasgow ahead of a visit by Pope Benedict
Merchandise commemorating the State Papal visit at grounds of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, ahead of a mass by Pope Benedict
Members of the public await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he will begin the first papal state visit to the UK
Staff at Edinburgh Airport prepare the red carpet for Pope Benedict XVI ahead of his arrival there at the start of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
The papal chair at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom

Pope Benedict XVI today made his strongest public apology of his state visit to victims of child abuse within the Catholic Church.

The Pontiff told of the "shame and humiliation" brought by the scandal and expressed "deep sorrow" once again for the "unspeakable crimes".

Speaking at London's Westminster Cathedral, he acknowledged the "immense suffering" inflicted by ministers - echoing comments made to reporters on board his plane as he flew into Britain on Thursday morning.





Addressing the faithful at Holy Mass, he said: "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 their lives.





"I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins."





Focusing on those who suffered at the hands of ministers, he added: "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.





"I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests."





His comments follow his strongest admission to date of failings in the way the abuse scandal was handled.





On his flight into Britain, he said the Catholic Church had not dealt with abusive priests decisively or quickly enough and said its top priority now was helping victims heal and regaining their trust in the Church.





Opening his sermon at the main Catholic church of England and Wales, the Pope thanked those present for their "warm reception".



He added: "I am especially happy that our meeting takes place in this Cathedral dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, which is the sign of God's redemptive mercy poured out upon the world through the passion, death and resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ."





And he welcomed Dr Rowan Williams saying: "In a particular way I greet the Archbishop of Canterbury, who honours us by his presence."





During the 13-minute address, Pope Benedict spoke of the "insights and teachings" of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the Victorian intellectual and preacher who will be beatified by the Pontiff tomorrow in Birmingham.





He said: "May the profound ideas of this great Englishman continue to inspire all Christ's followers in this land to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ, and to work strenuously to defend those unchanging moral truths which, taken up, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, stand at the foundation of a truly humane, just and free society.





"How much contemporary society needs this witness! How much we need in the Church and in society, witnesses of the beauty of holiness, witnesses of the splendour of truth, witnesses of the joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ!"





And he said one of the "greatest challenges" facing Catholics today was how to "speak convincingly of the wisdom and liberating power of God's word to a world which all too often sees the Gospel as a constriction of human freedom, instead of the truth which liberates our minds and enlightens our efforts to live wisely and well, both as individuals and as members of society."





He added: "Let us pray, then, that the Catholics of this land will become ever more conscious of their dignity as a priestly people, called to consecrate the world to God through lives of faith and holiness."





And he said: "The more the lay apostolate grows, the more urgently the need for priests is felt."





Concluding his sermon, the Pontiff urged listeners "once more to look to Christ," adding: "I pray that in doing so, you may join the ranks of faithful believers throughout the long Christian history of this land in building a society truly worthy of man, worthy of your nation's highest traditions."





Earlier this morning, the Pope met Prime Minister David Cameron. He arrived at Archbishop House, behind Westminster Cathedral in central London at 8.40am followed 15 minutes later, by the Prime Minister.





It is the first time the two men have met since the Pope arrived in the UK as Mr Cameron was attending his father's funeral yesterday when the Pontiff addressed MPs in Westminster Hall.





Pope Benedict XVI's meeting with Mr Cameron comes as six men remain in police custody after they were arrested over an alleged plot to attack him.





Five street cleaners were arrested yesterday morning as armed officers swooped on a depot as they prepared to start their shift. Hours later a sixth man was arrested at a home in north London.



The Pope arrived in a BMW rather than the Popemobile, wearing a white gown and red shoes.



The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, arrived shortly after 9am.



Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg arrived to meet the Pope, accompanied by his wife and children.



Mr Cameron then left Archbishop's House after a 20 minute audience, at which point acting opposition leader Harriet Harman arrived.





As she left after her meeting, she said: "I was very pleased to express the welcome to the Pope on his visit to this country as leader of the opposition and on behalf of the Labour Party.





"We talked about the many struggles for social justice that the Catholics and the Labour party have struggled on together.





"We talked about the challenges that still remain here and abroad.





"We reflected on the long, close connection between - and the leading role played by - Catholics in the Labour Party over many decades and I wished him well for the rest of his visit."





She did not say whether they discussed the issue of gay adoption within Catholic adoption agencies.





Former prime minister Tony Blair, a catholic convert, and his wife Cherie arrived at the Cathedral ahead of this morning's mass.





Mr Blair stood to admire a long line of priests from England, Wales and Scotland who had gathered alongside the cathedral, preparing to celebrate the mass.





Several of the priests, who appeared in excitable mood, waved at the Blairs and pulled out pocket cameras to take photographs.



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