The Wall Street Journal: Vatican breaks silence, expresses ‘shame and sorrow’ over Pennsylvania abuse report

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A Vatican spokesman on Thursday expressed “shame and sorrow” about the allegations of abuse by more than 300 Catholic clergymen in Pennsylvania over 70 years that were detailed in a grand jury report released Tuesday.

“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible,” Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement. “Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

Burke also said that the more than 1,000 victims should know that “the pope is on their side.”

The Pennsylvania report sparked widespread outrage, some focused on specific church leaders named in the report, such as Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C. Some Catholics had hoped for a strong response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report from Pope Francis before two days went by.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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