Pope apologises to Australians for sexual abuse in the Church as thousands protest against his visitPope Benedict apologised today for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia, saying those responsible should be brought to justice.
The Pope previously confronted sexual abuse in the Church during a visit to Washington in April, meeting victims and vowing to keep paedophiles out of the priesthood.
The Pope said: '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 ... in this country.'
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives on stage for the Evening Vigil at Randwick Racecourse during World Youth Day'I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured', the pontiff said in a homily in Sydney.
'These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. Those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.
'I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops and to work together with them in combating this evil.'
The comments are believed to be the first time the pope has specifically apologised for sexual abuse by clergy and stated clearly that abusers should be brought to justice.
The protesters denounced what they called Pope Benedict XVI's antiquated and discriminatory viewsHis address came as around 1,000 protesters rallied in Sydney against Church doctrine, chanting "Pope is wrong, put a condom on" and throwing inflated condoms into the air.
Police kept protesters and pilgrims apart, but arrested one pilgrim after he punched a "No Pope" protester in the face.
Protesters rally in support of sexual freedom and the use of condoms in SydneyBishops in the United States and elsewhere were discovered to have moved clergy who had sexually abused minors from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or handing them to authorities.
In the United States alone, dioceses have paid more than $2 billion to settle suits with victims, forcing some dioceses to sell off properties and declare bankruptcy.
After the papal apology, victims' group Broken Rites said: 'Sorry is not enough. Victims want action, not just words.'
Activists prepare to protest against Pope Benedict XVI and the World Youth Day event in Sydney
Anti-Pope protesters chanted 'The pope is wrong, put a condom on!'Broken Rites say there have been 107 convictions for Church abuse in Australia, but that there could be thousands of victims as only a few cases go to court.
Victims had been calling on the Pope to issue a public apology during his visit and to implement an open and accountable system of investigating abuse claims.
They say the Catholic Church in Australia continues to try and cover up abuse.
'A remote apology does not carry anywhere near the weight as a personal, direct apology,' said Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were raped by a Melbourne priest.
More than 1,000 protesters joined in the rally'This is only an apology, it is only words, it doesn't commit all the resources of the Church to this problem,' he said.
'I hear he is deeply sorry. I do not believe that he really understands the depth of the problem ... He needs to meet with victims and victim support groups to understand what is required.'
Sexual abuse by Catholic clergy has overshadowed the Pope's visit, with the Church reopening a 25-year-old abuse case in Australia only days before the pontiff arrived.
The Catholic Church in Australia has paid millions of dollars in compensation, but has capped individual payments to tens of thousands of dollars, with many payments undisclosed due to confidentiality settlements.
Victims say the compensation payments are inadequate.
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