Pope Francis on Friday said he felt responsible for the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, and has issued an unprecedented apology. He made the remarks during a meeting with the International Catholic Child Bureau (Bice), a non�governmental organization. Pope Francis said:
�I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.�
The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed,” the pontiff added.
Francis also stressed that children have to be protected against all forms of violence, including slave labour and enrollment in child armies, and given the right �to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.” Starting from Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has taken an increasingly tough line on child abuse. A growing number of priests accused of molesting children have been defrocked, while penalties in the Vatican legal code have been stiffened.
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