Pope Benedict urged lapsed and lukewarm Roman Catholics on Thursday to rediscover their faith but acknowledged there are “bad fish” in the Church itself.
“Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual desertification,” he said in his sermon of a morning Mass, opening a worldwide “Year of Faith”.
“We see it all around us … the void has spread,” he said.
Later, on Thursday evening, the pope made an impromptu address from the window of his apartment overlooking the square and made references to the sexual abuse scandal and conflict within the 1.2-billion-member Church.
“In these years, we have seen that there is discord in the vineyard of the Lord, we have seen that in the net of Peter (St Peter, the first apostle) there are bad fish, that human fragility exists even in the Church,” he said.
Quite an admission. But the question is, what is the appropriate treatment for “bad fish” (to borrow the Holy Father’s words)?