Benedict XVI emerges to defend his record on sexual abuse

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Pope Benedict XVI leaves Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 24, 2012. RNS photo by Paul Haring/Catholic News Service

Pope Benedict XVI leaves Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 24, 2012. RNS photo by Paul Haring/Catholic News Service

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ROME (RNS) Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI disputed the claim that abuse is pervasive in the Catholic Church, noting that "according to research by sociologists, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than those present in other similar professional fields."