Top Australian cleric apologises for abuse
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's most senior Catholic cleric on Monday apologised to those who "suffered at the hands" of priests and religious teachers, in a Christmas message issued after a turbulent year for the Church.
In the video message broadcast on television, Sydney Archbishop George Pell said he was shocked and ashamed, following a series of paedophile allegations against priests and claims that they were hushed up.
He said his heart went out to "all those who cannot find peace at this time, especially those who have suffered at the hands of fellow Christians, Christian officials, priests, religious teachers".
"I am deeply sorry this has happened," he added. "I feel too the shock and shame across the community at these revelations of wrongdoing and crimes."