Toronto: Pope speaks about church sex scandals

 Pope John Paul spoke about the sex scandals in the church during an outdoor Mass to over 800,000 young Catholics in Toronto yesterday. Despite heavy rain, huge crowds attended the open-air Mass. Speaking of the Church's "deep sadness and shame" caused by the sexual abuse of children by clergy, he said: "If you love Jesus, love the Church. Do not be discouraged by the sins and failings of some of her members." He said: "The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. "But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! "There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the cross!" The Pope said: "At difficult moments in the church's life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent." He said holiness was not a question of age, but it was a matter of living in the Holy Spirit, just as the Native Canadian martyr-saint Kateri Tekakwitha and many other young people had done. The pontiff urged his young audience to support the vast majority of priests whose "only wish is to serve and do good." The Pope is due to travel on from Canada to Guatemala and Mexico, and concerns have been raised about his health. But a BBC correspondent travelling with him said he was looking better than for many months. For the full text of yesterday's homily, visit: Homily by Pope John Paul at Toronto World Youth Day Mass

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