The pope spoke out Saturday on the recent sex abuse scandals plaguing America, citing pedophilia as a "scourge" of society.
Pope Benedict also said that all of society's institutions, as well as the Catholic Church, should be held to the same standards when trying to protect children from predators.
“It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society,” said Pope Benedict in a conference of visiting United States Bishops.
“By the same token, just as the church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards,” the pope said.
The Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal permeated headlines over the past couple decades in the United States. Similar cases of pedophilia have arisen in Mexico, Ireland and even Italy.
The pope said his 2008 trip to U.S. was intended to "encourage the Catholics of America in the wake of the scandal and disorientation caused by the sexual abuse crisis of recent decades.”
Over the past month, sex abuse scandals have rocked American Universities.
Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator of the Penn Sate football team, was indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. The allegations have resulted in the firing of legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.
Syracuse University is also in the midst of sex abuse scandal as their associate head coach, Bernie Fine, is accused of molesting three ball boys.
Fine was fired Monday in wake of the allegations.