Catholic pilgrims have hailed a new "Miracle at Fatima" as Pope Benedict XVI blasted the sex abuse which has plagued the Catholic Church as "truly terrifying."
Surrounded by thousands of faithful, he prayed at Fatima Wednesday for priests who are tempted by the "evil one."
In his first visit to the shrine, which was much beloved by Pope John Paul II, Benedict prayed for priests to stay the course of their “sublime vocation” and to not “succumb to the temptations of the evil one.” His remarks indicated that the Vatican had finally begun to understand the groundswell of anger over the pedophile priests.
A pilgrim at the Portuguese shrine said, "Perhaps this is the real miracle of Fatima."
The Virgin Mary is believed to have revealed three secrets to three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917.
The first was a vision of hell that has been interpreted to predict the end of World War I and the start of World War II. The second was interpreted to have predicted the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain across Europe while the third was believed to have predicted the 1981 attempt on John Paul II's life.
Pope John Paul II said the Virgin of Fatima saved him when Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca tried to kill him on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the apparition.
The bullet that hit the pontiff was later placed in the golden crown of the Virgin of Fatima and Benedict prayed there Wednesday.
“It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the ‘bullet’ of our anxieties and sufferings,” he said.
"Let the church be renewed by sainted priests, transfigured by the grace of he who makes everything new.”
Benedict's visit also marked the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three children made famous by Fatima. The third, Sister Lucia de Jesus Dos Santos, died in 2005 aged 97.
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