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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.

Vatican says 'grave limits' in UN sex abuse report

The Vatican on Friday criticised a damning UN report on the Catholic Church's handling of child sex abuse cases, saying it had "grave limits" and accusing UN committee members of following "prejudiced" views. "The recommendations published by the committee appear to present... grave limits," spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement on Vatican Radio's website, defending the efforts made to stamp out abuse.

UN watchdog slams Vatican's child abuse record

The United Nations condemned the Vatican Wednesday for failing to stamp out child abuse and allowing systematic cover-ups, calling on the Church to remove clergy suspected of raping or molesting children. The Vatican hit back, accusing the world body's child rights watchdog of distorting the facts by failing to take into account fresh efforts to rid the Church of child abusers. In an unprecedented report for a UN body, the Committee on the Rights of the Child slammed the Vatican for failing to live up to repeated pledges to put its house in order.

Vatican accuses UN of 'distorting' facts in child abuse report

The Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations accused the UN on Wednesday of distorting facts in its damning report which denounced the Church for failing to stamp out child abuse. The report failed to take into account the fact that the Vatican had made "a series of changes for the protection of children", and its efforts at reform were "fact, evidence, which cannot be distorted," Silvano Tomasi said in an interview with Vatican Radio. jlv/ide/txw

Vatican bank chief: "We haven't rendered a good service to the Holy Father"

VATICAN CITY - The new head of the Vatican bank says his top priority is to clean up the bank's reputation, saying the institution hasn't served the pope well but provides valuable financial services to the Holy See and its clients that should continue. Ernst von Freyberg was named president of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) in February, replacing Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, an Italian banker ousted by the bank's board last May for incompetence and other failings.

Secretive Vatican bank to publish annual report online in ramped-up transparency bid

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican bank, long a source of secret and scandal for the Holy See, plans to publish its annual report online as part of its efforts to be more financially transparent. Vatican Radio said Tuesday that the bank president, Ernst von Freyburg, announced the plans to his staff Monday and said the bank would launch its own website this year. The moves come ahead of a July deadline for the Vatican to submit to a new evaluation by the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee, which assesses compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing norms.

Pope hints at possible changes to scandal-ridden Vatican bank

By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis has indicated for the first time that he may make changes to the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of the Holy See's troubled administration. Before Francis was elected last month, many of the cardinals who went on to choose him expressed concern about the harm done to the Church's image by three decades of scandals at the bank, which Italian magistrates are now investigating for money laundering.

Pope decree allows earlier conclave: Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree on Monday allowing cardinals to bring forward a conclave to elect his successor, as the resignation of a top cardinal and deepening intrigue in the Vatican overshadowed the run-up to the vote. "I leave the College of Cardinals the possibility to bring forward the start of the conclave once all cardinals are present," the pope said, who steps down on Thursday. The conclave is traditionally held between 15 and 20 days after the papal seat becomes vacant although that period normally includes nine days of mourning for a deceased pope.

Vatican dismisses 'gossip' about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation

"There are people who are trying to take advantage of this moment of surprise and disorientation of weak souls to sow confusion and discredit the Church and its government," says Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

Pope to quit Twitter after stepping down: Vatican Radio

The pope's official Twitter account, which has more than two million followers in nine languages, will close next week when Benedict XVI leaves office, Vatican Radio said Friday. After a high-profile launch on December 12 under the name @pontifex, the pontiff's online musings quickly attracted over 1.5 million followers in English. Around a million other users of the site subscribe to his feeds in Italian, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Polish, Arab and even Latin and a Chinese account had been planned.
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