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Pope Francis has asked a pretty big request of the victims sexually abused by priests:
He wants them to forgive their abusers!
More specifically, The Pope says that HE assumes responsibility for the "evil" of priests who raped and molested children, and promised that the church will continue to fight its disturbing trend of sexual assault. That's when he asked for forgiveness.
That's a hard thing to do in ANY situation for ANY victim, especially since he's been trying to fix the Catholic church's awful reputation without publicly punishing the offending priests.
We're pretty sure public outing and punishment is just what the people want!
Pope Francis said:
"I feel compelled to take personal responsibility for all the evil that some priests, many — many in number, (although) not in comparison with the totality — to assume personal responsibility and to ask forgiveness for the damage caused by the sexual abuse of the children.
"The church is aware of this damage. We don't want to take a step back in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I think we must be even stronger! You don't play around with the lives of children."
Some people truly feel like he has strong words (this is the first time a pope has taken personal responsibility for the sex crimes of his chruch!), but they think his actions lack conviction. Victim groups claim he's taken no real action against the sexually abusive priests, but the Vatican is claimed to be investigating their staff to see which bishops haven't been reporting their priest's sexual misconduct, so at least that's a start.
We really hope something comes of this, because sexual abuse is one of the worst things in the world.
It seems like Pope Francis could definitely be the Pope to finally get something done, as long as he finds the strength to take the right steps!
Let's hope the offending priests are found out and punished, because hiding them away might not be the best course to stop it from happening again!