Vatican Expresses ‘Sorrow,’ Calls for ‘Accountability’ After Pennsylvania Report

Cardinal Donald Wuerl the former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh who now leads the Washington archdiocese in 2015

The Vatican said the abuse that took place in six dioceses of Pennsylvania signified a "betrayal of trust" that "robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith".

If analysts say the Dallas Charter had some success in stopping sexual abuse in the church and disciplining priests who were involved, critics now say it doesn´t go far enough where bishops are concerned.

The Vatican said Francis was "on the side" of victims following recent revelations that 301 "predator priests" operated in the USA state of Pennsylvania over the last seven decades, in many cases having their crimes covered up by the Church.

Earlier this week more than 300 "predator" priests in Pennsylvania were accused of abusing more than 1,000 children across seven decades, a grand jury said in a devastating report that decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Chaput's archdiocese was not covered by the Tuesday report, although a 2005 grand jury report found evidence that hundreds of children had been sexually abused by at least 63 priests in the district.

This story will be updated.

Father McCafferty is, himself, a victim of clerical sex abuse at the hands of former priest James Donaghy during his time as a seminarian in Wexford and later in Northern Ireland.

More from The Vatican: "The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible".

The Vatican statement came after liberal and conservative Catholics pressed for a papal response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

In a written statement using uncharacteristically strong language for the Holy See even in matters like the long-running abuse scandals staining the US church, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke sought to assure victims that "the pope is on their side".

"The problem of sexual misconduct in the church is a universal problem", Secillano said.

In 2013, a diocese's settlement with 11 men who accused a Franciscan friar of sexually abusing them at a Catholic high school in northeast OH more than two decades earlier stoked complaints that the friar had abused boys at a Pennsylvania school in the late 1990s.

A priest who was accused of abuse by three boys was later hired by Disney World after receiving a positive job reference from the church.

"Cardinal McCarrick, 88, is the first cardinal in the church's hierarchy to resign over sex abuse allegations".

"Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership", said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said he doubts dioceses will release names unless forced to do so.

The Vatican had previously not commented on the report.

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