Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that the Catholic Church is responsible for the high level of clerical abuse within its institutions.

The pope made the comments while en route to Portugal for a four-day visit.

“Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the Church,” he said.

“The Church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice.”

It now appears that the pope has taken a new and radical approach to dealing with the churches clerical abuse scandals.

The Vatican and key catholic figures in Ireland were quick to blame the media for launching a hate campaign against the church.

The sheer scale of clerical abuse throughout Ireland and the rest of the world has proven that the scandals are not just "idle chatter or "petty gossip."

The pope now admits that the problem of clerical pedophilia stems from within the church.

However victims groups have brushed aside his response and accused him of glossing over the new allegations that are emanating out of Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

Over the last few weeks, the Pope has met with many victims of clerical abuse and has accepted several high profile resignations from bishops.

The comments come a day after the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, stated that he was “disheartened and discouraged” at “the still strong forces [in the church] which would prefer that the truth did not emerge.”

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