As the public outcry over the Catholic sexual abuse scandal continues to rumble on, Pope Benedict XVI said in a homily in Rome this week that the "attacks of the world" have shown the need to "perform penance" for the sins of the church. Although the Pope didn't mention pedophile priests specifically, the comments were his most contrite and direct reference to the crisis yet. But, with favorable views of the Pope falling from 63 percent in 2005 to 24 percent this month even in his native Germany, is this a penitent enough response? (Watch a CBS report about the Pope's push for penance.) The world reacts:
At least the Pope has spoken out: We must give the Pope "credit" for at least "breaking the silence" his predecessors maintained regarding pedophilia in the church, says Stephanie Le Bars in France's Le Monde. But the Pope must do more to forcefully deal with this crisis, or the almost daily revelations of sexual abuse will define his papacy and further weaken the Vatican.
"Pedophilia: Benedict XVI calls for penance"
Benedict must address the scandal more clearly than this: Pope Benedict has failed to live up "to the great challenges of our time," says dissident German theologian Hans Kung in an open letter published in Suddeutsche Zeitung. There is no denying that "the worldwide system of covering up cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered" by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Pope's refusal to make a personal apology has only made the scandal more "disastrous."
"German theologian urges bishops to pressure pope"
The Vatican has turned a corner... but there is more to do: The Vatican has finally made it clear bishops must report crimes to the police, say the editors of The Times of India, and Pope Benedict is meeting with more abuse victims. "It's high time that such a turnaround happened, and we hope the Vatican has turned a definitive corner." But as long as the Pope and his supporters continue blaming the crisis on homosexuality and hostile outsiders, instead of placing the blame where it belongs — on themselves — the crisis will fester.
"Faith And fear"