Thursday, Jun 4, 2015Thursday, Jun 4, 2015

Pope slams Church's complicity in child sex abuse as he meets victims for the first time

Published on Jul 8, 2014 1:15 AM

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis acknowledged on Monday that the suicides of clerical sex abuse victims weigh on his conscience as he thanked victims for shining a light on the "terrible darkness" at the heart of the Catholic Church.

At his long-awaited first meeting with victims, the Pope reached out to the tens of thousands of people abused by priests globally, telling them he was sorry for the "grave crimes committed against you", and for the complicity of the Church in covering them up.

Three male and three female victims from Britain, Germany and Ireland stayed the night in the pope's residence near Saint Peter's Basilica before having breakfast with Francis. Each then spent a hour with him in private.

The meetings come amid criticism that Pope Francis has been slow to deal with the paedophile scandals which have hugely damaged the Church.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!