Pope Forgives Molested Children

Top Headlines

International

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles

WASHINGTON—Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles.

World Begins Another Day At Mercy Of 19-Year-Old Estonian Hacker

TALLINN, ESTONIA—With the private data of national governments and entire global industries at his fingertips, sources confirmed this morning that yet another day had begun with the whole world helplessly at the mercy of 19-year-old Estonian computer hacker Jüri Pevkur.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

WASHINGTON—Saying the Likud Party leader had set Israeli citizens’ expectations extremely high in the run up to his reelection Tuesday, top-level sources expressed their worry Wednesday about whether the United States would actually be able to...

A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World

PARIS—In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and two ensuing armed standoffs that together left over a dozen innocent civilians dead, humankind admitted Friday that it is sick and tired of having ...

Schlubs From U.S., China Meet In Lowest-Level Talks

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—In an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between the global superpowers’ most oafish representatives, sources confirmed Thursday that schlubs from the United States and China met in Australia this week for a series of low...

Iranian Team Openly Working On Bomb In Negotiating Room

VIENNA—Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon...

Where Is Kim Jong-Un?

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. Here is the latest speculation on his whereabouts

How China Stifles Dissent

Recent clashes with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have refocused international scrutiny on the Chinese government’s efforts to quell social unrest and silence demonstrators.

Nation Admits It Could Probably Be Talked Into Another War

WASHINGTON—While they acknowledged that getting behind such a plan might take a little convincing, the American populace admitted this week that they could, in all likelihood, be talked into another war. Citizens across the nation told reporters tha...

Ugly Custody Battle Over Ian McKellen Narrowly Avoided

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Following Scotland’s referendum Thursday rejecting independence from the United Kingdom, sources confirmed that a protracted and ugly custody battle over celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen had been narrowly avoided.

Tips For Achieving Peace In The Middle East

With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating, sectarian violence boiling over in Iraq, and Syria mired in a civil war that’s now more than three years old, the Middle East continues to be plagued by bloodshed and unrest.

Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away

CONAKRY, GUINEA—With the death toll in West Africa continuing to rise amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus, leading medical experts announced Wednesday that a vaccine for the deadly disease is still at least 50 white people from being developed.

Who Is Vladimir Putin?

After troops from his country forcibly seized Crimea earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin is back in the news for allegedly arming separatists in eastern Ukraine with the missiles that are believed to have taken down Malaysia Airlines Fl...

Understanding The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Tensions have quickly escalated in Gaza following the recent collapse of peace talks and the subsequent kidnappings and murders of Israeli and Palestinian teens, with Israeli citizens now threatened by daily rocket fire from Hamas while Gaza residents ...

What Is ISIS?

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a formerly al-Qaeda–aligned organization known by the acronym ISIS, has been seizing cities in Iraq, carrying out mass killings, and marching toward Baghdad.

Understanding The Situation In Iraq

Violence has escalated in Iraq in recent weeks as the Sunni Islamist militant group ISIS has seized control of numerous cities and continued its advance toward the capital, Baghdad.

Immigrant Also Applying To A Few Reach Countries

LUANG PRABANG, LAOS—Noting that his consular officer said it couldn’t hurt to take a chance on a few long shots, prospective immigrant Soukan Chitmany told reporters Monday that, in addition to applying for permanent residence in a number of m...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Food

Pope Forgives Molested Children

VATICAN CITY—Calling forgiveness "one of the highest virtues taught to us by Jesus," Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree Monday absolving priest-molested children of all sin.

The Pope.

"Though grave and terrible sins have been committed, our Lord teaches us to turn the other cheek and forgive those who sin against us," said the pope, reading a prepared statement from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square. "That is why, despite the terrible wrongs they have committed, the church must move on and forgive these children for their misdeeds."

"As Jesus said, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,'" the pope continued. "We must send a clear message to these hundreds—perhaps thousands—of children whose sinful ways have tempted so many of the church's servants into lustful violation of their holy vows of celibacy. The church forgives them for their transgressions and looks upon them not with intolerance, but compassion."

The papal announcement arrives in response to public outcry over the sex scandal sweeping the Catholic church in the U.S. Though official church doctrine condemns such transgressions, the pope's decision, observers say, is intended to demonstrate the church's willingness to put the scandal behind it and restore the public trust.

"By forgiving these children, primarily churchgoing boys between the ages of 5 and 15, the pope has shown true Christian kindness," said Father Thomas O'Malley, a member of the New York archdiocese and one of the many priests implicated in charges of sexual activity with minors. "The pope is saying that, in their own way, these sinful youths are victims, too. Through their absolution, he sends the important message that empathy, contrary to what naysayers and critics in the secular media would have us believe, does have a place in modern Catholicism."

For Catholics waiting for the pope to break his long silence on the scandal, the sweeping, decisive nature of his response has come as welcome relief.

"The pope has shown great love and compassion, much as Jesus did when he ministered to tax collectors and whores," said Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. "Despite all they have done to jeopardize the careers of so many priests—to say nothing of imperiling the priests' immortal souls—the church embraces these underaged seducers and tempters with open arms. The pope's words and actions prove that the church is willing to put an end to the suffering and let the healing begin."

The mass absolution is being hailed by church scholars as one of the Vatican's most progressive acts since the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

"One cannot overstate the break from tradition this represents," said lay administrator Bruce McConnachie of the Los Angeles archdiocese. "After all, under church doctrine, the act of seducing a priest is considered a grave sin against the laws of God, punishable by condemnation to Hell for all eternity. But the pope has put all of that aside. He has let bygones be bygones. For this, all of those misbehaving, sexy little guys should feel grateful. By showing such willingness to forgive and forget, the pope has sent a clear message: Even though these boys have done much to undermine and subvert the priestly vows of celibacy, they are still deserving of God's love."

Margaret Leahy, 39, a Somerville, MA, homemaker and mother of one of the alleged seducers, expressed relief over the pope's announcement.

"For months, I feared that my boy—and the dozens of others who committed sinful acts with Father Halloran before he was moved to the safety of another parish to protect him from further temptation at their pre-pubescent hands—was going to Hell for what he'd done," Leahy said. "It's the worst feeling a mother can know. But thanks to the forgiveness of the pope, my long nightmare is finally over. He was just a boy of 8 at the time. He didn't know any better. Thank you, your Holiness, for giving my poor little Timothy a second chance at redemption."

However, not everyone within the Catholic church is so supportive of the pope's actions.

"What kind of a message is the pope sending today's children? That it's okay to seduce priests?" said one concerned Baltimore priest who asked to remain anonymous due to a pending court case. "With the pope's announcement, the church is essentially telling its youngest members, 'Go ahead and let Father So-And-So reach into your swim trunks at the church-youth-group pool party. It's okay, the pope will forgive you in the end.' Without fear of eternal damnation, how are these provocative young lotharios ever going to learn?"

"As the creep of secular humanism continues to chip away at our most sacred institutions, the Vatican has established a dangerous precedent," the priest continued. "We look to the church's authority for justice and righteousness, not politically convenient solutions that maintain the status quo. These nubile sinners should be held accountable for the damage they've done."