11/04/2014 11:47 BST | Updated 11/04/2014 12:59 BST

Pope Francis Apologises For Sex Abuse Of Children By Catholic Church Clergy

The head of the Catholic Church has issued an apology for clerical sex abuses against children.

Speaking to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE) at the Vatican on Friday, Pope Francis said: “I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil some priests – large in number, but not in proportion to the total – have committed and to ask forgiveness for the damage they’ve done with the sexual abuse of children."

“The church is aware of this damage,” Vatican Radio quoted him as saying.


Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the clerical sex abuses against children which have blighted the Catholic Church

He added: "It is personal, moral damage, carried out by men of the Church and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed.

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"On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children."

BICE is a non-profit international Catholic network of organisations engaged in the promotion and protection of children's rights.

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