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Pope Acknowledges 'Sins Within The Church'

Maria Cavaco Silva (center), the wife of Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, kisses Pope Benedict's hand during a visit to the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon on May 11.
Pope Benedict XVI is traveling to one of the world's most visited Catholic shrines, Fatima, on the second day of a visit to Portugal.

The pontiff is expected to deliver a message of hope to up to half a million people in western Europe's poorest countries and hardest-hit economies.

But comments ahead of his arrival in which he conceded that "sins within the church," and not outsiders and the media, are to blame for the Roman Catholic Church's current problems. Benedict added that "forgiveness cannot substitute justice."

A slew of cases of sexual abuse against children and charges that Benedict and other senior Catholic officials failed to respond sufficiently to such cases have dogged the Vatican.

Church officials have accused critics and the media of waging a campaign against the Catholic Church and distorting the truth around the sexual abuse -- in some cases serial -- by priests of young children.

Benedict is in Portugal for a four-day trip.

compiled from agency reports