Vatican City: The Vatican No 2 has said that, while the sex abuse scandal has been painful and damaging to the church, it has also shown the need for a spiritual renewal.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, on Wednesday made the comments to priests who gathered at the Vatican to mark the end of the church`s Year of the Priest, a year that has been marred by hundreds of revelations of priestly abuse and Vatican inaction to stamp it out.
Bertone said the revelations had harmed the credibility of the church. But he said they had also provided a "providential realisation" of the need for a "new season of spiritual renewal and rebirth”.
Pope Benedict XVI is expected to address the priests tonight during a vigil service, and again tomorrow during a Mass.
There is some speculation that Benedict may again refer to the scandal, following his recent comments en route to Portugal during which he acknowledged that it was born of the "sin within the church" and not from outside elements.
Previously Vatican officials, Vatican publications and cardinals had blamed the scandal on the media, the Masons and anti-Catholic lobbies, among others.