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Pope asks abuse victims to forgive the Church

by
11 July 2014

By a staff reporter

AP

Penitent: a spokesman for the Vatican, the Revd Federico Lombardi, at a press conference held on Monday after the Pope met survivors of abuse

Penitent: a spokesman for the Vatican, the Revd Federico Lombardi, at a press conference held on Monday after the Pope met survivors of abuse

POPE FRANCIS has begged forgiveness from survivors who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests. He also asked for forgiveness for the Roman Catholic Church's complicity in covering up sex abuse.

In a strongly worded homily during a mass, he said: "Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness.

"I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves." Bishops who had allowed their priests to molest children and minors would be held accountable.

After the mass, he held private meetings with survivors of child sex abuse by RC priests - two from the UK, two from Germany, and two from Ireland. He spent half an hour with each victim, talking about the "lifelong scars" left by the "execrable acts of abuse".

Some survivors of sex abuse at the hands of RC priests, however, branded the meetings a public-relations exercise, accusing Pope Francis of staying silent on the issue when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. One of the survivors choseto go public after her meeting with the Pope. "The Church needs to change," Marie Kane, aged 43,who was abused by a priest near Dublin from the age of 15, told Irish radio.

Pope Francis said that earlier in the year he had set up a committee - which includes an abuse survivor - to develop "better policies and procedures" for the protection of children from abusive clergy.

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