Pope defends Church efforts on sex abuse

December 5, 2011
Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict

In a speech to U.S. bishops, Pope Benedict defended the Church's "honest efforts" to confront the priestly sex abuse scandal with transparency, and said its actions could help the rest of society respond to the problem.

While the Church is rightly held to high standards, all other institutions should be held to the same standards as they address the causes, extent and consequences of sexual abuse, which has become a "scourge" at every level of society, the pope said Nov. 26.

The pope made the remarks in a speech to bishops from the state of New York, who were in Rome for their ad limina visits.

The pope said he wanted to acknowledge the suffering inflicted on victims as well as the Church's efforts to ensure the safety of children and deal "appropriately and transparently with allegations" of abuse.