Pope prays for healing from sex abuse scandal

April 19, 2008 9:00:34 PM PDT
Pope Benedict XVI used another stop during his trip to the United States to focus on the clergy sex abuse scandal.The pope spoke to priests and nuns at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral Saturday morning before a parade down Fifth Avenue in the 'pope-mobile.'

New York's magnificent St. Patrick's Cathedral hosted its first papal mass in history, during which the congregation consisted of New York dignitaries, priests, nuns and other catholic religious figures.

The pope's message was to the priests and others working in church ministries. He spoke to encourage them, and mentioning the sexual abuse scandal, the pope talked of resolving the issue.

"I simply wish to assure you, dear priests and religious, of my spiritual closeness as you strive to respond with Christian hope to the continuing challenges this situation presents," Pope Benedict XVI said.

Saturday afternoon, the 'pope-mobile' was rolled out in New York for the first time during the papal U.S. trip.

The weather was perfect as Pope Benedict waved and bestowed his blessing on thousands of people who lined 5th Avenue a dozen-deep or more.

In the crowd was the Skokna family from Oak Brook, Illinois and their friends, the Houlihans from Arlington Heights. With the kids in tow, they drove all the way to New York for to catch a glimpse of the pope.

The parents put their children on their shoulders to help them get the best view, as some in the crowd shouted, 'Viva papa!'

In a matter of seconds, the 'pope-mobile' approached, and then, Pope Benedict was gone.

"It was [worth] all of it and more. [It was] inspirational and so nice to see the pope and crowds in adulation. It was worth the 14-hour drive," Joe Houlihan of Arlington Heights said.

"When I see all the crowds, it reminds me of crowds [that followed] Christ when on earth and all the good He wanted to do for others. I think the pope is the same way," said Karen Skokna, who is from Oak Brook,Illinois.

The moment of seeing the pope was emotionally overwhelming for some lining Fifth Avenue.

One child said he just thought the pope was 'cool.'


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