Pope 'opens his heart' over abuse scandal: Vatican paper

16th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI "opened his heart" about the paedophile priests scandal during the first day Thursday of his historic visit to Britain, the official Vatican newspaper reported.

"The pope opened his heart, saying he was shocked and expressed difficulty in understanding this perversion of the priesthood," the paper said in an editorial.

Benedict also expressed his "sadness for an ecclesiastical authority that was not vigilant and fast enough in response to the scandal," it said.

"At first sight, the atmosphere did not seem easy," the paper said about the 83-year-old pontiff's trip to Britain, the first official state visit made by a pope at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Despite the controversies over the abuse scandal, tens of thousands of people gathered in Edinburgh and Glasgow to welcome the pope as he arrived for the four-day visit that also includes trips to London and Birmingham.

© 2010 AFP

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