Pope Francis met with victims of clergy sex abuse for the first time on Monday. During a small private mass at a Vatican chapel, he asked the victims for forgiveness and called the abuse a “grave sin.”
“There is no place in the church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not,” said Francis during the mass.
Francis’ mass was called a publicity stunt by some critics. Norbert Denef, a spokesman for a German advocacy group for clergy sex abuse survivors, called Monday’s meeting “nothing more than a PR event.”