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Published: Saturday, 6/12/2010

Pope Benedict vows vigilance, begs forgiveness for church's sexual abuse scandal


VATICAN CITY - Addressing the sexual-abuse crisis from the seat of the Roman Catholic Church before thousands of priests, Pope Benedict XVI Friday begged forgiveness, saying the church would do "everything possible" to prevent priests from abusing children.

"We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again," he told thousands of priests and the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for celebrations marking the end of the Vatican's Year of the Priest.

He did not outline specific actions the church would take to combat abuse, as many hoped. Nor did his remarks go much beyond what he has said. But it was the first time he asked forgiveness for the crisis from St. Peter's Square, the heart of the church.

The Pope said the Devil was behind the scandal, saying it had emerged now, in the middle of the Vatican's Year of the Priest, because "the enemy," or the Devil, wants to see "God driven out of the world."

Victims groups weren't satisfied.

"A promise is nominally more helpful than an apology. But promises are usually easy to make, hard to keep, and broken often if there's no oversight or penalties," said ex-Toledoan Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

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