Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the churches cover-up of abuse.
In a letter addressed to ‘the whole People of God’, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer for those “atrocities”.
The statement has been published on the Vatican news website and follows the publication of a report last week detailing widespread sexual abuse by over 300 priests in Pennsylvania.
The Pope says the heart-wrenching pain of these victims was “long ignored, kept quiet or silenced.”
He also states that It is essential that the Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable.
With shame and repentance, the pontiff says we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.