(AP) — ROME — A top Vatican official said Tuesday 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 Gänswein, a top aide to both retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, told a book presentation 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.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.