Sydney, July 19 : Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to victims of what he termed as "evil" sexual abuse by members of the clergy in Australia.
Stating that he was "deeply sorry" and that he shared the victims' pain, the Pope.
"I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country," Pope Benedict said during a mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.
"Indeed I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured and I assure them that, as their pastor, I too share in their suffering. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain, they have damaged the church's witness," news.com.au quoted the Pope, as saying.
On his way to Australia, the Pope seemed to commit to making an apology to victims. However his spokesmen since then had appeared to play down expectations.
"Our first reaction is disappointment. They are only words - the same thing we've been hearing for 13 years. It is simply an apology, there is nothing practical there which is what we were looking for," World Youth Day co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher was quoted, as saying.