Sex abuse scandals shake Church but not faith
Sexual abuse by clerics and accusations of cover-up have rocked the Roman Catholic Church and disturbed churchgoers around the world, but many believers say the scandals have not shaken their faith. From Rome to Rio de Janeiro, Paris to Dublin and from Warsaw and Washington, Easter sermons were overshadowed by allegations of priests molesting children, especially in Europe and the United States, and the Church’s mishandling of the crisis.
Across Pope Benedict’s native Germany, hundreds of long-concealed reports of sexual abuse have emerged and shattered a notion abuse was only a U.S. and Irish problem. “It’s the greatest loss of confidence in the Catholic Church since the Hitler era,” said Christa Nickels, a member of the Central Committee of German Catholics and a Greens party leader.
In Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus was born, Mayor Victor Batarseh, himself a Catholic, said Church members were ashamed of the abuse carried out by priests. “His holiness the pope should give a straightforward answer to all these things that have been done by some of the priests in the Catholic Church,” he said.
In New York, churchgoers at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan said they too were appalled and saddened. “My confidence is shaken that they are not doing all that is necessary but I think that’s changing now,” said a man named Tom, 57, who asked that his surname not be used. “It’s disappointed me greatly. It hasn’t shaken my faith.”