Pope Benedict XVI, continued his tour of the United Kingdom where he seeks to reassure Catholics that sexual abuse by priests will never again be allowed since the Vatican has decided to pursue a more aggressive policy if such cases again arise. He told English Catholics, “I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes.” He admitted failure on the part of church officials to take immediate action when they first learned about these cases. There is no doubt Pope Benedict is shocked by what happened, there is no doubt, he is aware too many in the hierarchy turned away from confronting issues, there is no doubt, he wants to change the Catholic church. The issue is not the past, but how to move into a future in which such crimes fail to emerge. Yes, he feels sorrow. Yes, he wants to prevent such incidents. But, has he conceived a program that will prevent sexual abuse is the question?
We believe Pope Benedict should take a page from the efforts of his predecessor, Pope John XXIII, in the 1960s, who set in motion a vast effort to reform the Catholic Church and bring it into the 20th century. There is need to examine issues such as marriage for members of the clergy.