Pope: Sex Abuse at a Level 'We Could Not Have Imagined' Pontiff issues mea culpa in annual speech By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 20, 2010 1:00 PM CST 45 comments Comments Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing on the occasion of the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings to the Curia, in the Regia Hall, at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool) (Newser) – Pope Benedict issued a sobering Christmas speech today, admitting that sexual abuse in the church has reached "an unimaginable dimension,” and calling for major reflection. “We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible,” the pontiff proclaimed, according to the New York Times. “We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen.” But though Benedict called the scandal a “humiliation,” he did add that it had to be viewed in the context of a society in which pornography was considered normal and sexual tourism is increasingly common. “The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times,” he said.