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Deceased Dutch Catholic bishop was child molester: commission

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor PARIS (Reuters) - The Dutch Catholic Church, in a rare admission of guilt among senior clergy, has confirmed that a bishop who died last year had sexually abused two boys decades earlier. The diocese of Roermond said a Church commission had found that accusations against former bishop Johannes Gijsen, dating back to his time as chaplain at a minor seminary from 1958 to 1961, were "well founded".

Pope aplogizes for sexual abuse by priests

Vatican City, Apr 11 (EFE).- Pope Francis begged pardon Friday for the sexual abuse of children committed by "quite a few" Roman Catholic priests. "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 regard to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed," the pontiff told a Catholic children's NGO. Francis interrupted his prepared address to improvise a few words of apology for the evil perpetrated by priests on minors.

Pope asks forgiveness for 'evil' of child abuse by priests

By Naomi O'Leary VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis made his first public plea for forgiveness on Friday for the "evil" committed by priests who molested children, using some of his strongest words yet on the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis. The Argentine-born pontiff said the Church, which last month named a high-level group on the scandal including an abuse victim, had to take an stronger stand on a scandal that has haunted it for more than two decades, and indicated there would be repercussions for perpetrators.

Pope asks forgiveness for child sex abuses

Pope Francis on Friday personally asked forgiveness for thousands of child sex abuses carried out by priests and promised more action following accusations of cover-ups and excessive leniency by the Vatican. "I feel compelled... to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the pope said at a meeting with members of a children's charity, Vatican Radio reported.

Italy cardinal defends controversial sex abuse policy

A leading Italian cleric on Saturday defended the decision to adopt a Vatican-approved policy which exempts bishops from having to report cases of suspected child sex abuse to the police. "The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty (to report abuse) under Italian law," Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Genoa.

Anti-abuse groups reject Australian cardinal's apology

Child rights advocates on Friday rejected an apology from Australia's top Catholic cleric George Pell over sex abuse in the Church, saying it was "hypocritical" and lacked credibility. Cardinal Pell, who takes up a high-powered job as head of a new Vatican finance ministry next week after being hand picked by Pope Francis, said child sexual abuse was a "terrible blight" on the Church. In his last sermon before leaving Australia for the Holy See, he acknowledged priests, religious leaders and others linked to the Church had abused those they were supposed to protect.

Pope appoints former child victim to church group on sex abuse

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Saturday named a victim of sexual abuse by a priest to be part of a core group formed to help the Catholic Church tackle the problem of clerical pedophilia that has dogged it for two decades. The formation of a group of experts was first announced in December, and today the pope named the first eight members - four female and four male - from eight different countries.

Philadelphia archdiocese limits tuition aid to abuse victims' children

(This version of the story corrects spokesman's first name to Kenneth in third paragraph. The story was first filed on March 11.) By Daniel Kelley PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will no longer take applications for a small program that pays the Catholic school tuition of children of victims of sexual abuse by priests, saying that the money could be used to benefit victims directly.

Pope very popular in United States, but no 'Francis effect': poll

By Tom Heneghan (Reuters) - One year after his election, Pope Francis is "immensely popular among American Catholics," a survey said on Thursday, but there is no sign of a "Francis effect" inspiring more to attend Mass or do volunteer work. The Washington-based Pew Research Center said 85 percent of Catholics in the United States viewed the Argentine-born pontiff favorably, with 51 percent reporting a "very favourable" view of him, while only 4 percent expressed a negative opinion.

Pope popular in US but sex scandals cast long shadow

A year after being chosen Pope Francis is very popular with American Catholics though his handling of the pedophile priests' scandal left many underwhelmed, a new study found. More than eight in 10 surveyed in the Pew Research Center study of 1,821 adults 18 or older --- fully 85 percent -- had a favorable opinion of the pope a year after his elevation, it found. Francis, born in Argentina, is the first pope born in the Americas, and the first from Latin America.
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