Vatican official: Sex abuse scandal is church's 'own 9/11'

FILE - This Feb. 9, 2013 file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI flanked by personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein during a Mass to mark the 900th a

FILE - This Feb. 9, 2013 file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI flanked by personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein during a Mass to mark the 900th a

ROME (AP) — 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 Sept. 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."