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Even the Pope Needs PR: Benedict’s apology for abuse by Irish Catholic priests March 24, 2010

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In mid-March, Pope Benedict XVI released an apology to victims who have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Ireland. The 18-page letter was meant to be read during mass in churches across Ireland, and suggested that the acts – and the cover-up – were sinful, reprehensible, and needed to be prevented in the future with better training of priests. The letter, which was released to the media, may be accessed here.

Despite the Pope’s willingness to condemn the abuse, many across the world are frustrated with the apology. Critics have contended that the letter mentions nothing about the Vatican’s responsibility in the abuse scandal, and focused too much on Ireland rather than the abuse involving priests in other countries.

For more on the Pope’s apology, see the following news stories:

Discussion Questions:

1.  The Vatican has been reluctant to apologize for abuse scandals in the past. Why issue this apology now? What is at stake for the church?

2.  In your opinion, what did the church do well in its apology?

3.  How could’ve the apology been better?

4.  Do you think that the apology was effective overall? Why, or why not?

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