The Vatican quoted Francis as expressing „sorrow“ in his homily at a private Mass with six victims today for the „sins and grave crimes“ of clerical sex abuse against them.
The Pope added: „I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately.“
Earlier, Vatican spokesman the Reverend Federico Lombardi said two Irish, two British and two German victims had met separately for about 30 minutes apiece with Francis at the pope’s Vatican hotel.
He said Francis had already greeted the six on Sunday evening at dinner.
Other abuse survivors not at the meeting said the encounter will not ease complaints that the Vatican has failed to punish bishops and other prelates who systemically covered up the abuse of minors.
A German survivor advocacy spokesman, Norbert Denef, called the meeting „nothing more than a PR event“.