Pope Mentions Sex Abuse for First Time

He also meets with Netanyahu

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 2, 2013 3:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Pope Francis made direct mention of the Catholic Church's problems with sexual abuse today, asking bishops from the Netherlands to "continue supporting" victims "on their painful path to healing." It's the first time he's publicly addressed the issue, according to the National Catholic Reporter, though the Catholic News Service identifies it only as his "most explicit reference" to it. Francis said he particularly wanted to promise to pay "for every victim of sexual abuse and their families."

It was a busy day for the pontiff, that also saw him meet with Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time. The Israeli prime minister swung by the Vatican today as part of a visit to Rome, and presented Francis with a gift: A book about the Spanish Inquisition, inscribed with the words, "To His Holiness Pope Francis, great guardian of our common heritage," Haaretz reports. In a 25-minute closed-door meeting, the two discussed the Palestinian peace process, Iran's nuclear program, and the welfare of Christians in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, presents Pope Francis with a Menorah during their meeting at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, presents Pope Francis with a Menorah during their meeting at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Mass on the occasion of his visit at the Parish Church of St. Cirillo Alessandrino, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Mass on the occasion of his visit at the Parish Church of St. Cirillo Alessandrino, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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