On Friday April 11, 2014, Pope Francis in remarks while addressing a French child protection group, publicly asked forgiveness for the Church in connection to its widespread child sexual abuse scandals.
Speaking for the Catholic Church as a whole body, including Catholics in general, he emphasized the seriousness of the problem and urged the church to be very strong in responding to that element of their most recent and shameful history. He hinted that he would be willing to implement and impose future punitive measures and sanctions against those in the church would commit such crimes or protect the guilty.
Some experts on abuse issues praised the pope’s comments, while others who have been critical of the Catholic Church over the child sex scandals indicated they would take a “wait and see” position. Most admit that the pope’s moves seem to be sincere and in the right direction.