Pope Francis Begs for Forgiveness Over Catholic Church Pedophile Ring
Francis has admits the church 'showed no care for the little ones'
Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness for his role in covering up the "predator priest" pedophile ring that was recently exposed in Pensylvania.
The Pope said the church let the child victims down, admitting that covering-up decades of abuse by priests all over the world "showed no care for the little ones."
Francis, real name Jorge Mario Bergoglio, finally caved in to pressure for an official response regarding last week's bombshell report that exposed the abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania that was systemically covered up by church officials for years.
His plea came in the form of a letter that was issued around the world by the Vatican, in which Francis called for greater accountability in the face of new revelations that revealed decades of misconduct by clergy in the US.
Sky News reports: Francis condemned the "crime" of all those responsible in any abuse within the church, and any subsequent cover-ups, and insisted that Catholics must be involved in greater efforts to root it out.
"We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death," he wrote.
"We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."
The Vatican published the letter ahead of the first Papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, with protests being planned in Dublin over the abuse scandal, which has also emerged in Chile and Australia.
Colm O'Gorman, who was repeatedly raped by a priest in County Wexford as a teenager in the 1980s, said:
"It's become a trope, he goes to a country and has a confidential meeting and releases a statement about how moved he was by victim testimony, expresses sorrow and regret and we move on.
"I like and admire many of the things that Francis has to say on poverty, social inclusion and refugees, however, I think some of it is overstated.
"On abuse issues, he has been shocking."
It has not been revealed whether Francis plans to meet survivors during his trip, which begins on Saturday morning.
Francis will arrive in Dublin for two days of events as part of the World Meeting of Families, which is headlined by a mass at Phoenix Park on Sunday afternoon.
It is set to be a significantly lower turnout than the crowds which greeted John Paul II at the same venue in 1979, although around 500,000 people are still expected.
Meanwhile, an international research group is launching a database of Irish clergy convicted or credibly accused of abusing children in the hope of pressing Francis to release the names of all priests deemed guilty by the church.
BishopAccountability.org has said hiding such names "puts children at risk, withholds validation from survivors, and makes it nearly impossible for Catholic laypeople to protect their families or hold church leaders accountable."