- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Vatican on Thursday lamented the sexual abuse within the Catholic Church uncovered in a Pennsylvania investigation, calling it “criminally and morally reprehensible,” The Associated Press reported.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said “those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and faith” and that Pope Francis is on the side of the victims, AP reported.

The Pennsylvania grand jury investigation detailed accusations against 301 priests of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children and adolescents over a period of 70 years. The report was released Tuesday afternoon.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was “shamed and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops” but that reforms such as the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the office of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection “offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused.”

Such reforms took place after the 2002 Boston Globe report exposing systematic cover-up of sexual abuse within the Church.

Shortly before the release of the report Tuesday, Pope Francis tweeted, “Still today there are so many martyrs, so many who are persecuted for the love of Christ. They are the real strength of the Church!”

On Wednesday, still not addressing the report of the investigation, the pope prayed for victims of a bridge collapse in Italy.

The Vatican’s statements were only reported by the AP and have not yet appeared on the official website of the Holy See, nor on official accounts on Twitter.

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