"For years, I thought my aides were telling me that people had come forward to say the priests were amusing children in their parishes," said Benedict in a prepared statement released by the Vatican. "With laughter being one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, you can understand why I didn't think this would be a problem."
Benedict claims he reassigned the accused priests, rather than remove them from a position where they would come into contact with children, because he was trying to "spread the laughter."
"That's just the type of Pontiff I am," wrote Benedict, noting his propensity for buying virtual drinks for all 1,000 of his Facebook friends. "I love to laugh."
"Now I understand why the Cardinals would give me such funny looks when I would react with such delight every time the topic of children being amused came up," added the Pope, noting it was similar to the times when he would tell them long, wistful stories about his time spent in the Hitler Youth, only to find out recently that it wasn't actually the Bavaria chapter of the Boys & Girls Club.
Some are skeptical about the Pope's claims, though, pointing out that many of the accusations came in lengthy written reports outlining the potential scope of the abuse claims. But Benedict says most of his memos and reports were read to him by an aide who had a speech impediment, which compounded his hearing problem.
"For years when we were discussing keeping abortion under control, I thought the topic was portion control," explained the Pope. "Which frankly I could stand to have a little more of, the way I love that apfelstrudel."
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