VATICAN Sexual abuse "criminally and morally reprehensible", Pope is on victims' side

IN THE THOUSANDS’ The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera bishop of the Diocese of Scranton discusses the report that identifies 59 religious leaders in his diocese

Church report: 1,000 child victims in Pennsylvania

Cupich touted the Thursday announcements by the bishops committee - the leading body of American Catholic leaders - that it had requested a Vatican investigation of disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and that it would revise its sexual abuse-reporting procedure implemented in 2002 to include a procedure for allegations against bishops.

Pope Francis is on the side of victims of more than 300 "predator" priests in the U.S. accused of abusing children in one state, the Vatican says.

"There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these terrible crimes: shame and sorrow", said the statement issued in the name of Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See 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", Burke said.

However, the Vatican's critics say it should have responded earlier and argue the Catholic Church - and Pope Francis himself - are shirking responsibility in the face of a wave of abuse scandals around the world.

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The report released Tuesday says leaders of the Catholic church in Pennsylvania covered up the abuse for more than 70 years, according to the New York Times, USA Today and the Washington Post.

At times, the lengthy catalog of clergy sexual abuses in the report is hard to read.

"What this report will show", he says, "is that the victims will be post-pubescent teenage boys and men, and overwhelmingly, therefore, the assaults will be homosexual in nature".

Among its many revelations, the report exposed the way some used Pennsylvania's statute of limitations on reporting child sex abuse to their advantage.

In a statement, it said the Church wanted to listen to the victims to "root out this tragic horror". It contained graphic examples of children being groomed and sexually abused by priests.

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The Vatican expressed "shame and sorrow" on Thursday about a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report about clergy who raped and molested children in six dioceses.

"The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades", they said. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

DiNardo also said that lay people - not just church clerics - should be given "substantial involvement".

"Sorrow, disgust, outrage - these are righteous feelings, the stirrings of the conscience of a people scandalized by the bad reality that too numerous men who promised to protect their children, and strengthen their faith, have been responsible for wounding both", Cupich wrote.

"During my tenure, we acted... very appropriately with many times removal from ministry, totally and completely", he said.

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