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Vatican Official: Sex Abuse Scandal Is Church's 'Own 9/11'

FILE - Pope Francis shares a word with Prefect of the Papal Household Georg Ganswein (L) during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, May 2, 2018.

A top Vatican official says the clerical sex abuse scandal is such a game-changing catastrophe for the Catholic Church that he called it the church's "own 9/11" on the 17th anniversary of the attacks in the U.S.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a top aide to both retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, told a book presentation Tuesday that he by no means was comparing the scandal to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

But he said the years-long scandal, and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, showed just "how many souls have been wounded irrevocably and mortally by priests from the Catholic Church."