Pope John Paul II today issued his strongest statement yet regarding the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the American Catholic Church.
"Like you, I too have been deeply grieved by the fact that priests and religious, whose vocation it is to help people live holy lives in the sight of God, have themselves caused such suffering and scandal to the young," the pontiff told American Cardinals gathered at the Vatican.
"Because of the great harm done by some priests and religious, the Church herself is viewed with distrust, and many are offended at the way in which the Church's leaders are perceived to have acted in this matter.
"The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God."
Many Catholics are hoping that this week's meeting will plant the seed for significant change within the Church. This hour, we go inside the first day of the meetings: what was discussed? Who is wielding the power in the discussions? And what are the prospects that anything significant will come from the discussions?
Melinda Henneberger, Rome Bureau Chief for the New York Times
R. Scott Appleby, Professor of History and Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at The University of Notre Dame
Father Bob Bowers, Pastor of St. Catherine's Church in Charlestown, MA
This program aired on April 23, 2002.