© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pope Addresses Priest Scandal during Youth Mass

Toronto, Canada – Pope John Paul has admitted wrongdoing among some Catholic priests. During his Mass at World Youth Day in Toronto Sunday, the pontiff acknowledged the sexual abuse that has taken place at the hands of some clergy.

"The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame," the Pope told the crowd.

But John Paul urged the massive congregation not to let the scandals diminish their faith in the Church. He told them to remember the good work done by many priests.

Despite the Pope's words about the failings of the church, advocates for victims of sexually abusive priests say his words didn't go far enough.

They complained the Pope seemed to sympathize more with priests than with those who were molested.

David Gagnon, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he wished the Pope had instructed the bishops seated on the stage to treat victims with compassion.

Gagnon sought a meeting with the Pope during his visit to Toronto, but said he received no response from Vatican officials.

Many Western New York Catholics were in Toronto for the papal visit. Dan Greer, youth director for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, said the Buffalo delegation is returning with a renewed connection to their Catholic faith.

"I hope they return with the well of their faith filled," Greer said. "I want them to be able to draw from that well over their lifetime. I hope they share their experience with their family, friends and parish."

After celebrating a private Mass for nuns in Toronto Monday morning, Pope John Paul was scheduled to fly to Guatemala.