VATICAN CITY - Agence France-Presse
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead a Vespers mass at Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Benedict XVI on Monday urged "profound renewal" in the Catholic Church to combat child abuse in a message to participants of a first-ever Vatican conference on the issue.
"Healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level," the pope was quoted as saying in a statement by the Vatican.
He said the conference of Catholic leaders should "promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support." The statement said the pope "supports and encourages every effort to respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and spiritual growth."