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Communications official says clerical sex abuse offends God, children

The Vatican's top communications official has said the real tragedy of clerical sex abuse is not the embarrassment caused to the church, but the grave offense against God and children.

Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said he has suggested to Pope John Paul II that the church dedicate three days during Holy Week as a period of prayer and reparation for the "tragic moral flaws" revealed in the lives of some priests.

"Let us face the fact that we are living in sad days for the church," Archbishop Foley told students and faculty at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia last week.

Archbishop Foley recounted that, when asked once by a cardinal what was the best defence against charges of sexual abuse against the clergy, he replied: "Our best defence is virtue -- and, in the absence of virtue, candor."

Pontifical Council for Social Communications


20 Mar 2002