Philadelphia (dpa) – Pope Francis met with five victims of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal on Sunday, the final day of his trip to the United States.
“I promise that all those responsible the for sexual abuse of children will be punished,” Francis told a gathering of bishops in Philadelphia, after meeting for about 30 minutes with three women and two men who were sexually abused as children by clergy members.
Saying he felt “deep shame” about the acts, the pope told the audience that “these crimes can no longer be kept secret.”
The Catholic Church has been tarnished in recent years by worldwide revelations about paedophile priests, and by allegations that its hierarchy failed to punish offenders or covered up their crimes for decades.
The pope also met with inmates at a Philadelphia jail and was due to hold mass before departing for Rome.