Pope to Abuse Victims: I Beg Your Forgiveness

Francis meets with 6 abuse survivors, apologizes for 'sins of omission'

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2014 7:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – In a gesture that's grabbing some attention, Pope Francis today met with victims of clergy sexual abuse—six of them, two each from Britain, Germany, and Ireland—and apologized 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." He met for a half-hour with each of the victims, reports CNN, having held a private Mass with them beforehand. They also shared a group dinner last night.

"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," Francis said in his homily, per text provided by the Vatican. But as the BBC notes, not everyone is impressed. "It seems as though this is more of a public relations event for the Vatican and for Pope Francis," says a victims' group rep. The Vatican is set today to expand a committee designed to tackle sex abuse by the clergy.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi speaks at the Vatican, Monday, July 7, 2014. Pope Francis has held his first meeting with Catholics who were sexually abused by clergy.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi speaks at the Vatican, Monday, July 7, 2014. Pope Francis has held his first meeting with Catholics who were sexually abused by clergy.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis answers reporters questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on the journey back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013.
Pope Francis answers reporters questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on the journey back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)
Pope Francis answers reporters questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on the journey back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013.
Pope Francis answers reporters questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on the journey back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)
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