April 21, 2005

Pope, U.S. cardinal discuss abuse scandal

Baltimore Sun

By Robert Little
SunAbuse Tracker Staff
Originally published April 21, 2005

With his papacy just minutes old and the faithful in St. Peter's Square still unaware of his selection, Pope Benedict XVI greeted Chicago Cardinal Francis George in English and told him he was focused on the issue that has engrossed the church's American leadership for three years - sexual abuse by priests.
The exchange was brief, George said yesterday, and the substance of the new pope's message - that he favors re-approval of a church policy on abuse set to expire this year - was modest.

But abuse victims, and groups that have advocated church reform since the abuse scandals became public three years ago, said they were encouraged yesterday. By addressing quickly and directly an issue of foremost interest to the American arm of the church, the new pope seems to have shown a sharper interest in the matter than he had when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, they said.

"I'd like to tell you I'm optimistic, but let's say I'm happy that he seems to have given an indication that he understands the gravity of the problem," said Linda Pieczynski, spokeswoman for Call To Action, an American organization that advocates reform of the Catholic church.

Posted by kshaw at April 21, 2005 04:44 AM