Pope Benedict XVI
will likely express regret for sexual abuse committed
by Roman Catholic clergy when he visits Australia next week,
the church's senior cleric in the country said Monday.
Pell said the pope spoke about the church's sex abuse
scandal during a visit to the United States earlier this
year and he was likely to do something similar when he
is in Sydney for the World Youth Day festival, to be
held from July 15 through 20.
"He handled it
very well in the United States and I anticipate he'll
do the same here," Pell told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
for victims of church abuse in Australia, whose numbers
are not known but activists claim are in the thousands,
have demanded the pope make a full and open apology
for clergy abuse and do more to compensate victims and
prevent future abuse.
"The apology is
necessary, but the apology must come with action,"
said Chris MacIsaac, a spokeswoman for Broken Rites, a
support group for Australian victims of clergy abuse.
During a six-day
visit to the United States in April, Benedict returned
to the issue repeatedly in public comments and met with a
group of abuse victims.
He called the
crisis a cause of "deep shame," pledged to keep
pedophiles out of the priesthood, and decried the "enormous
pain" that communities have suffered from such
"gravely immoral behavior" by priests. He also said
the problem had sometimes been "badly handled" by the
Clergy sex abuse,
some of it dating back a half-century, surfaced in
high-profile cases during the past couple of decades and has
become a public issue in the United States, Canada,
Ireland, Australia, and elsewhere.
scheduled to lead prayers and make speeches during World
Youth Day, a five-day festival in Australia expected to draw
250,000 pilgrims to Sydney. He is also scheduled to
meet with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other top
government officials as well as representatives of
pilgrims and other faiths. No meeting with abuse victims is
on his official schedule. (AP)