VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has told Irish Catholics it's a mystery why clergy abused children entrusted in their care and undermined believers' faith in an appalling way.
Via a pre-recorded video message, Benedict addressed the closing session Sunday of a week-long gathering in Dublin aimed at celebrating Roman Catholicism.
The Eucharistic Congress, held by the Vatican every four years in a different part of the world, came against a backdrop of deep anger over child abuse cover-ups and surveys showing declining weekly Mass attendance in predominantly Catholic Ireland.
Benedict said Irish joy over their long history of faith was "shaken in an appalling way" by revelations of clergy abuse. He said the abuse damaged the credibility of the church's message. He added it "remains" a mystery why priests abused this trust.
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