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Vatican expresses ‘shame and sorrow’ over abuse of 1,000 children by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania

The Vatican has expressed ‘shame and sorrow’ after a report detailed decades of abuse in the Catholic Church

The Vatican has expressed “shame and sorrow” in its first response to a groundbreaking US Grand Jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The report accuses over 300 “predator” priests throughout Pennsylvania of abusing nearly 1,000 children — and the Church of conducting a systematic cover-up. However, the actual number of total abuses in those dioceses since 1947 may be far higher than the reported figure. “We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward is in the thousands,” the grand jury noted in its lengthy report.

In the Vatican’s response, Pope Francis said he understands how “these crimes can shake the faith and spirit of believers,” vowing to “root out this tragic horror.”

“Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican’s Press Office. “The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.”

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