In a television interview in which he answered questions about the tsunami in Japan, civil war in the Ivory Coast and whether a person in a vegetative state still has a soul Pope Benedict XVI responding to the first question, told a seven-year-old Japanese girl left traumatised by the country's earthquake and tsunami that he had no answers for why there is so much suffering and pain in the world. The girl, named as Elena, said her house had been shaken by the quake and that many children of her age had been killed in the natural disaster.
I also have the same questions: why is it this way? Why do you have to suffer so much while others live in ease?" said Benedict, dressed in white papal robes and seated at a desk. "And we do not have the answers but we know that Jesus suffered as you do, an innocent."
The initiative was seen as an attempt by the Vatican to repair the pontiff's image after a series of public relations debacles, including rows over the use of condoms to prevent Aids, the rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying British bishop and the Church's much-criticised response to paedophile priest scandals.