Pope to sex abuse victims: I beg your forgiveness

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Monday, July 7, 2014


VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has begged forgiveness from the victims of clergy sex abuse in his first meeting with several abuse survivors.

The Vatican quoted Francis as expressing personal "sorrow" in his homily at a private Mass with six victims Monday for the "sins and grave crimes" of clerical sex abuse against them.

Added the pope: "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."

"This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk," the pope said, according to the English translation of his homily, delivered in Spanish.

Francis noted the abuse caused some victims to resort to addictions, or even suicide. "These deaths of these so beloved children of God weigh upon the heart and my conscience and that of the whole church," he said.

Advocacy groups for clerical abuse survivors have denounced the Vatican repeatedly for failing to fire or otherwise discipline bishops and other prelates who routinely shuffled known pedophile priests from parish to parish without alerting parishioners to the danger.

The Vatican said Francis met with three men and three women who had been sexually abused as youths by clergy, listening to each one privately for about a half-hour each, all morning long at his Vatican residence.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said two Irish, two British and two German victims met with the pope.

Pope Benedict met several times with abuse victims, starting in 2008. Francis, on his trip back from the Middle East in May, promised he would meet with victims this summer.

Follow Frances D'Emilio on Twitter at www.twitter/fdemilio. (PR)

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