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The Journal Gazette

  • Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus blessing Sunday that ''I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people.'' (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Francis prays for the dead and injured of the three U.S. mass shootings, during the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus blessing Sunday that ''I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people.'' (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Nuns shelters from the sun with their umbrellas bearing the colors of the Vatican flag prior to the start of Pope Francis Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Pope Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus blessing Sunday that ''I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people.'' (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Sunday, August 04, 2019 9:10 am

Pope encourages priests disheartened by sex abuse fallout

Associated Press

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has sent a letter to priests worldwide offering encouragement in light of the global sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church.

In a nearly 5,000-word letter, the pope on Sunday acknowledged the "pain" of priests who "feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit."

The pontiff said priests have shared "their outrage at what happened, and their frustration that 'for all their hard work, they have to face the damage that was done, the suspicion and uncertainty to which it has given rise.'"

Francis said "without denying or dismissing the harm" caused by the scandals, "it would be unfair not to express our gratitude" to priests who have fulfilled their duties "faithfully and generously."