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Pope Francis Begs Forgiveness From Clergy Sex Abuse Victims

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in Sibari, Southern Italy, on Saturday, June 21, 2014.  (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in Sibari, Southern Italy, on Saturday, June 21, 2014.  (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Meeting victims for the first time today at the Vatican, Pope Francis expressed personal “sorrow” for the “sins and grave crimes” of clerical sexual abuse against them. The Pope met with six victims, two each from Ireland, Britain and Germany at the Vatican today.

Francis promised “not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not.”

Groups that represent the survivors of sex abuse say today’s meeting will not ease complaints that the Vatican has failed to punish bishops and other prelates who systematically covered up clergy abuse. Bishops often shuffled pedophile priests from parish to parish without alerting parishioners to the danger.

A German survivor advocacy spokesman, Norbert Denef, called Monday’s meeting nothing more than a “PR event.”

The BBC’s Alan Johnston joins  s Robin Young from Rome to discuss the pope’s first meeting with abuse survivors.

Note: Please download the Here & Now podcast or use the WBUR app to hear this interview.

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