In an interview with National Public Radio this morning on the appointment of the newest batch of cardinals, NCR’s John Allen was asked what the new cardinals say about the church’s response to the sex abuse crisis.
Allen’s response was short and simple: “Pope Benedict believes the response to the scandal is not in sweeping change, but instead in what he calls spiritual rebirth.”
That answer recalls something the pope himself said Sept. 8.
It was barely noticed, but on that day the pope made perhaps his most significant (and most disturbing) statement about the church’s on-going sex abuse and cover up crisis.
“True renewal of the ecclesiastic community,” he said, “is the result less of structural changes than of a sincere spirit of repentance and an active path towards conversion.”
A Catholic news agency had this take on Benedict’s comment: “The solution to the problem of clerical sex abuse lies in a spirit of penitence and conversion, rather than a radical change of church structures, said Pope Benedict.”