Pope: Church Must Face Abuse's 'Terrifying' Truth
Catholicism dogged by 'sin within'
By Emily Rauhala, Newser User
Posted May 11, 2010 8:15 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI waves from the popemobile after arriving at Portela Airport for a four-day trip to Portugal on Tuesday, May 11, 2010.   (AP Photo / Victor R. Caivano)

(Newser) – The Catholic Church must finally face the "terrifying" truth of clerical sex abuse, says Pope Benedict in what Reuters notes are perhaps his most frank comments since the scandal broke two months ago. Catholicism's greatest threat, he told reporters aboard a flight to Lisbon, is no longer enemies from the outside but "sin within," and the church has "a very deep need" to do penitence and "accept purification."

The pontiff's trip to Portugal will focus on a different spiritual crisis: the decline of Catholicism in Europe. In Portugal, notes the BBC, 90% of people say they're Catholics, but only about 20% regularly attend Mass. Benedict plans to speak about "the joy of faith and hope" during his four-day tour, a rep says.

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