Pope asks sex abuse victims for forgiveness, vows to hold bishops accountable

(Franco Origlia, 2014 Getty Images)
(Franco Origlia, 2014 Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/07 9:57 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is promising to hold bishops accountable for the protection of minors. The pledge came as the pope celebrated a Mass with six victims of clergy sex abuse and begged for their forgiveness.

In his homily, the pope didn't spell out just how he would hold bishops accountable -- and whether that would include firing bishops and other church leaders who systematically moved pedophile priests from parish to parish to avoid bringing shame upon the Catholic Church.

One of the six people who met with Francis today -- Marie Kane of Ireland -- says she asked him to remove an Irish cardinal, Sean Brady, from his post because of how he handled allegations of abuse. The Irish Times quotes her as saying she told the pontiff a "cover-up is still happening, and you have the power to make these changes." She says he replied that it's difficult to make the changes.

Even as the pope spent his morning with the three men and three women who'd been abused by priests, other abuse survivors who weren't at the meeting were critical, with one calling the meeting "a PR event." They said the meeting would probably not advance their complaints that the Vatican has failed to punish church officials who covered up the abuse of minors.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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