Vatican City Pope Benedict XVI pledged Wednesday that the Catholic Church would take action to confront the clerical sex abuse scandal, his first public remarks calling for change since the crisis erupted.
It remains to be seen what exactly is in store. Already, the Vatican has told bishops that they must report abusive priests to police if civil laws where they live require it. It has promised “effective measures” to protect children. And Benedict himself has wept alongside abuse victims in Malta.
Advocates for victims are skeptical that real change is afoot, and say that promises have been made before. But others argue it would be wrong to underestimate the impact of the pontiff’s personal involvement in generating reform.