At a celebration honoring the end of the Vatican's Year of the Priest, Pope Benedict XVI raised the issue of clerical abuse for the first time from a pulpit at St. Peter's. "We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again," he said, according to the Times. "In this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light — particularly the abuse of the little ones," he said, which clearly thrilled the Times, which has been on Pope Watch 2010 for months now. "In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers." While the Pope has said similar things in missives and in private meetings, expressing regret and asking for forgiveness from the Church's holiest seat was a symbolic gesture toward victims and Catholics disillusioned over the abuse scandals, the largest he seems to have made so far.
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