Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the abuse crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.
Francis wrote: "We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."
The Vatican issued the letter Monday, ahead of Francis' trip this weekend to Ireland that is expected to be dominated by the abuse crisis.
ONLINE: Read Pope Francis' letter
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