Health Desk--21 August, 2018: Pope Francis condemned Monday the "atrocities" revealed by a far-reaching US report into clerical child sex abuse in the state of Pennsylvania issued last week.
"In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors... the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests," the pope said in a letter made public by the Vatican.
"Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims," he said.
A devastating US grand jury report published last week decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.
The grand jury said that more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but that the actual number was "in the thousands".
The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002.
Calling for "solidarity" with the victims and a fight against "spiritual corruption", Pope Francis said "no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient".
Among senior church members in the US forced to resign for protecting paedophile priests were the late cardinal Bernard Law in Boston and cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles.