Pope Apologizes for 'Evil' Clergy Sex Abuse

Pontiff tells Australia child abusers have damaged the church
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2008 6:15 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims upon his arrival for the Evening Vigil at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, July 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI used unusually strong language today in condemning the sexual abuse of children by Australia's Catholic clergy, reports the AP. The pontiff said the clergy's "grave betrayal of trust" had damaged the Catholic church. "I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. I assure them as their pastor that I, too, share in their suffering," Benedict said during a mass in Sydney. "Those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice."

Groups supporting victims said words alone were not good enough, and urged the church to stop fighting compensation claims in court.