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In a statement given to members of BICE [International Catholic Child Bureau] whom he received Friday in audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis made clear his desire to seek forgiveness for, and to prevent any future, abuse of minors by clerics.

The Holy Father 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. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children.”

The full official translation of Pope Francis’ statement can be read here

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