Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing upon arrival in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican to hold a pre-trip prayer service for the Catholic faithful, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. The pontiff has invited Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims to a pilgrimmage to the Umbrian hilltop town of Assisi, central Italy, where 25 years ago Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama and others spent the day praying for peace amid the Cold War. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI says all institutions -- not just the Roman Catholic church -- should be held to exacting standards in the response against sex abuse.
Benedict told U.S. bishops Saturday that the pedophilia scandals were a "scourge" for society and that the church is making "conscientious efforts" to confront the problem.
He acknowledged that decades of scandals involving priests molesting young people have disoriented American Catholics.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)