Pope Benedict XVI said Monday the Catholic Church must reflect on what is wrong with its message and Christian life in general that allowed for the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests.

While accepting responsibility for the scandal, Benedict said the abuse must also be seen in the broader social context, in which child pornography and sexual tourism are rampant, and where as recently as the 1970s pedophilia wasn’t considered the absolute evil that it is today.

The pope made the remarks to Vatican cardinals and bishops gathered for his traditional Christmas speech, an eagerly anticipated address that Benedict uses to press key issues he wants the church hierarchy to reflect on.

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