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Pope sees sex scandal as greatest threat to church

LISBON, Portugal (AP) - The clerical abuse scandal represents the greatest threat to the Roman Catholic Church and the crisis was "born from sins within the church" not outside, Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday on a trip to Portugal.

Portugal's economic growth has been pedestrian for years, averaging less than 1 percent between 2001-2008, and the global downturn brought a steep contraction of 2.7 percent last year. A three-year austerity plan to ease the country's crippling debt load is expected to bring greater hardship to a people already feeling the pinch. The pope said the fiscal crisis demonstrated the need for "moral responsibility" in the economics sphere and noted that he outlined his vision for a more ethical financial system in his 2009 encyclical "Charity in Truth." />