Pope Asks For Forgiveness For Priests’ Sex Crimes Against Children

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Catholics in our area are responding to the shockingly harsh words from the leader of the Catholic Church who spoke out Friday about priests who sexually abuse children.

Pope Francis called those crimes "evil" and he is asking his faithful to personally forgive him for those acts.

At Saint John the Baptist Church in Larksville, Catholics gathered for a performance of the Passion play.

As the faithful are coming to the end of this Lenten season, the coming of Easter is a reminder to ask for forgiveness.

Now it is the leader of the Catholic Church who is asking forgiveness as well.

Pope Francis spoke out recently, condemning priests who abuse children.

Calling the crimes “evil,” the pope says he is “personally asking for forgiveness for the damage they have done.”

“Someone needs to take a firm stance against the wrongs that go on and he's the man to do it,” said Susan Banos from Mountain Top. “He speaks to our children and making an example.”

This harsh message comes a week after the arrest of a priest in the Diocese of Scranton.

Father Phil Altavillia, the pastor of Saint Peter's Cathedral in Scranton, the flagship church in the diocese, was charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl back in 1998.

“It's a terrible epidemic and it's really something that we all have to own in order to be able to begin to heal and begin to heal those who are the victims,” said Judy Howe from Luzerne.

The pope went even further, pledging to impose penalties on “men of the church” who harm children, even punishing bishops who have been “complicit” in these crimes.

“Pope Francis is trying to set an example for all of us that we all have to own the evil in our lives and the evil we experience,” said Howe.

“The world today is real tough and I think everybody should do a little asking of forgiveness,” said Joe Rasmovicz from Larksville.


  • Jack Irvin

    Shame on the pope to even ask for forgiveness, it is obvious he cares little for the victims, children,who may never recover from such heinous acts

  • My opinion

    Too many Catholics defend these monsters and argue with those seeking justice for the victims, adding insult to injury. If they defended the weak and ran these monsters out on a rail I’d personally have much more respect for the Catholic church.
    Incidentally, anyone who abuses the weak (children, elderly, animals, etc.) can ask their God for forgiveness, they’ll get none here.

  • fred

    How about locking these catholic child abusers in jail like any one else who abuses kids. Why are religious leaders treated different?

  • sickofthis

    I think all child molesters deserve life in prison. No pardons. Period. The world would be a much happier, and healthier, place if children could play outside, walk, and ride bikes freely without worrying about perverts. And parents would be much less stressed. The world would be a MUCH better place. The Pope should not even be addressing the public in terms of forgiveness for these crimes. I think he is just counting on religious “forgiveness” to lessen the affect of these DISGUSTING acts.

  • B

    I am sorry, I am just not feeling this..But He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do..they need to own up to the envrionment they set up for this. It’s not even biblical Paul said in the bible that if you want to serve God in totality, it’s best not to marry, however, if you “burn,” it is better for you TO marry. Talk about taking things out of context. It’s almost as if they justify these crimes in exchange for their servitude! Which is absurd. Your works don’t save you! Child molestation certainly won’t!

  • smackawanna

    Um, they are STILL molesting kids. It’s a shame to ask for forgiveness when it’s still happening everyday. It’s abnormal.

    • Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

      No doubt, and it’s a disgrace, but we can’t fault this pope for that. It appears that he is trying to change the face of the Catholic Church. It says a lot, that he actually addressed the problem. The church has a disgusting history of avoiding the subject altogether.

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