Pope Offers Apology, Not Penalty, for Sex Abuse Scandal
By RACHEL DONADIO and ALAN COWELL
New York Times
VATICAN CITY - Confronting a sex abuse scandal spreading across Europe, Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday apologized directly to victims and their families in Ireland, expressing 'shame and remorse' and saying 'your trust had been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.'
His message, in a long-awaited, eight-page pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, seemed couched in strong and passionate language. But it did not refer directly to immediate disciplinary action beyond sending a special apostolic delegation to investigate unspecified dioceses and religious congregations in Ireland. Moreover, it was, as the Vatican said it would be, focused particularly on the situation in Ireland, even as the crisis has widened among Catholics in Austria, the Netherlands and in the popes native Germany.
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