Over the course of 48 hours, American cardinals met with Pope John Paul II and other Vatican officials to discuss the scandal of priests who had sexually abused children and bishops who covered up the crimes after the fact.
Pope John Paul II tells them:
"The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God. To the victims and their families, wherever they may be, I express my profound sense of solidarity and concern.
The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality, even of human relationships, and its prime victims are the family and the young. In addressing the problem of abuse with clarity and determination, the church will help society to understand and deal with the crisis in its midst."