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Pope Benedict must apologise

Yesterday's meeting between the papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet and victims of clerical sex abuse was a welcome but insufficient gesture of contrition on the part of the papacy. During a visit to Lough Derg, Cardinal Ouellet stated that Pope Benedict XVI had asked him to come to the pilgrimage site to ask God's forgiveness for the abuse of children by priests and religious.

"I have come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics", Cardinal Ouellet said in his homily.

He went on to say that: "In the name of the church, I apologise once again to the victims, some of whom I have met here in Lough Derg."

While we welcome Cardinal Ouellet's visit to Lough Derg and his apology, the church still hasn't gone far enough. In order to begin to undo the damage caused by clerical child sex abuse, it is the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, who must apologise.

Apologies from clerical subordinates, no matter how genuine, are insufficient.

When he delivers a pre-recorded address to the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress at Croke Park next Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI must apologise to abuse victims also.

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