Today, Pope Francis begged forgiveness from the victims of clergy sex abuse as he held his first meeting with several abuse survivors, since his election.

Pope Francis expressed personal sorrow at a private mass with six victims for the “sins and grave crimes” of clerical sex abuse against them.

Victims were two British, two Irish and two German. They included three men and three women who had been abused sexually as youths by clergy. They all met with Francis at his Vatican residence for about half -hour each.

“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 in Spanish.

He noted that the abuse had caused some victims to resort to addictions or even suicide. Groups advocating for clerical abuse survivors have called out the Vatican, criticizing them for not disciplining the clergy who partake in the act.

One victim named Norbert Denef called the meeting nothing more than a “PR event.”
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