Pope Francis Sits Down With Victims of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Catholic Clergy

The pontiff met with six victims from Germany, Britain and Ireland for over three hours and asked for their forgiveness.
14:02 | 07/07/14

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Transcript for Pope Francis Sits Down With Victims of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Catholic Clergy
-- Francis doing something today that no -- -- has done before. The -- sitting down with victims of sexual abuse perpetrated. By the Roman Catholic clergy. -- what I'm Dan Butler in New York it is a historic moment for the Catholic Church Pope Francis today. Meeting with six victims of sexual abuse and asking for their forgiveness. For more on the first meeting ever of -- kind of want to bring an American magazines Vatican correspondent. Gerard O'Connell -- thank you for being with us he explained to us -- the historical significance. Of this meeting. -- -- -- -- -- The Pope had six victims. -- three women and 33. Men from Germany. From Britain. And tomorrow he three countries -- had a lot of -- the refusal. Marketers of children by priests in the fifties the sixties the -- be. He had -- he didn't meet them on troubles he'd like good -- phone. And some of them arrived at least one to number aren't only Friday evening basically in the guest host -- -- -- this thing. But the -- is living. He greeted them at. The dinner in the evening he celebrated mass this morning with them and then he spent three hours and twenty minutes with them. About a half an hour to read each one individually. Listening to the story. And -- 100 victims from Ireland said the survivors she said. There was no looking at Watkins I think everything I want to say and the certain -- -- certainly follow a certain point want to sit. She said it was an extraordinary experience with empathy. And she felt that he understood her that he was listening to America. So this is the first time you had a group of victims coming into the Vatican sitting down with the -- and not just form ten minute. In these meetings and during the homily. -- Francis actually asked the victims for forgiveness he it is than usual. For that kind of permission to be -- is -- non. -- It's that society and all Ruth Benedict the sixteenth his previous there's that -- that are sent I'm sorry the experience consult the sports that. I'm sorry million before go before the people who I am sorry for something -- That -- that I humbly ask you would give us. He said I -- could you arrives and I seen the -- of -- But he. Very passionate very strong. Message this morning. I spoke to somebody who's actually -- mass and in person certainly this is a very moving moment. This wasn't he touched it because this Pope has that ability really to express feelings and doing in the -- that we just people spots. I didn't -- who abuse questions -- quick to -- Healy also. Supports not dealing with the abuse -- your friend who ultimately. This morning the Pope was very clear he said. The bishops they have -- the responsibility. For Foster and ensure the protection to. And they would be -- account. This is a very strong message is that there's no place in the priesthood in the ministry -- -- man who abuses -- And you don't -- -- recipients for the American bishops -- I think in 2002. But this -- since moving step forward. He's sent -- this commission. Too -- for the protection to and they not for women on the commission. One great men and recruits including. Cardinal O'Malley of Boston. And their task is to come up with proposals there an advisory commission to the -- They come up with proposals and movement take the mobile. I think one of the big questions and equipment company but also how can help -- -- What more can be done to meet with the victims who overcome what -- terrible stuff. What do we know that about the selection -- the criteria that went into choosing these three men -- three women to meet with the. Well I understand who missed the selection process with. They needed first of all looked at various countries where there -- significant defeats. And then we came up it was a personal Hollywood and organizers hope you can get people young and innocent time and they came down to these three countries that -- -- Problems you remember when Pope Benedict. Wants won't do a lot of problems in Germany so that if you can forgive. There's been a lot of problems in the past the. England and so they could to remain -- -- of course the the church has really suffered but that there's been enormous abuse so many. Young men number have been true and it's never truly suffered and did something to have -- since that. Who. Before this morning's I -- -- suffered. Some have. And resort to the drug summit apparently you terrible problems with certain foreign relations with -- immediate family -- I was witness to. Decent numbers that -- suits that means he's had since this is on the confidence my conscience of the conscience of the tree. Has the Vatican said anything about victims in the United States about whether they would be additional meetings perhaps with American citizens. This is not be exclude. You know what was very likely to come to the United States that September. May you have an opportunity. This happened into the case. -- body development spokesman was asked this morning would it -- -- -- since there will we convicts who. The whole point to the poll this morning he looked at -- six becomes actually have a senator who because that is also. In the church because it was also Maria Collins the Irish woman who is thirteen year old -- The hospital she was abused by it it's futile to their she's now this commission on the commission said. But he said -- -- -- -- you person. You know him and he's obviously you can have these and is represented who. -- -- thousands. And tens of thousands of victims. -- -- -- In the fifties and 60s70s. These incidents didn't -- that. And he's determined -- We must be sure that these these does not happen it. He corporate crimes scenes. And -- -- that has made very clear on. Three different occasions that he adopted a zero tolerance policy means that we must be even. And that soon -- in the -- Feels the suffering of good. -- he said that he experienced pain and suffering and you don't solomons on our. That these priests who were to bring people -- gone. He engaged in sac removed his cult. -- -- article with their own home who insists. It's very strong language. -- conferees. What he feels he feels he's with a clue who beat creole -- the ministry that these children to remove god I see -- Father Lombardi from the Vatican's press office was essentially asked about the sincerity. Of this whether it was good PR and in this was his response. And that -- the for the person that -- Understand in season and -- -- and to Nepal opened to what he's doing. He he's openly via but it was absolutely not to publish fit nation and in the if you. The if you look at it and see. The person that come out of musical opened his meeting with the Pope London's then that was not the property and -- them. -- from those that were in that room with the Pope have you been hearing the same response to same sentiment about the genuine Hannity. But the efforts -- Absolutely. I think you'll concede this book will these -- public relations this could totally misunderstood him. He's avoided publicity moves to these life that. He hasn't let them let conceivably -- and he's doing. He would never. -- he -- that public relations exercise community which some serious human suffering. Such great. Damage to. Children who should be protected. And he who carried forward something -- -- don't mind he would never engage its I think it's completely -- -- people who. Presented as exploitation. Of the victims more. Public relations -- he was there and that constant. And he will want to engage in to try and help he's been resolved Maria can be Irish beat the third importance we -- -- he says I don't know what -- -- -- -- -- He insists. He's an account when did it he said. You are good -- you could not -- good -- And he made her understand the -- are God's people. The truth most and feels terrible for something -- And this -- the -- he's -- he's made it seeks all open hearings of thousands maybe tens of thousands of but. Its plan to communicate -- message which is not public relations. With the mission field. Try to reach out to -- of them -- -- knees before Robinson and sorry for this open. And to -- for them. I want to try to help you would -- -- we realized it won't be done. People do not listen -- crimes on the -- of the troops that include yourself. And he's determined. Ignored you know that means that the -- -- never happened. He's determined it wouldn't bring structures. And procedures that. Guarantee the future. Of this -- -- When -- Francis was a cardinal in Argentina he did not meet with sexual abuse victims of that country. Given that history does that hurt his credibility. When he takes on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. First of all you don't know exactly who he has been. So I know that -- of the organization city hasn't made it. No. And he's -- They had not wish remains to be put into the problem to me. And I think people must understand this you remember these charges that -- Going against him after. He became who live here you treat to do humans but he had been -- -- -- the -- I know we understand that this was we -- -- -- -- -- -- understand that. He had a big list of people needed help but nobody knew not missed some of his closest. And vices so to say that he never met victims is I think. It's it's it's -- to. But as president of the bishops' conference he -- -- an important tool in dealing with some of the things. It -- Francis has said that those who commit these acts. Were part of a sack religious cults to do you think that the Pope would go so far as -- rocking the priest. That are responsible. -- -- -- I'm already the congress and for you reinsert that Morton that he be brought. -- -- producers. Last week when the producer and -- who. The congregation for the doctrine of the faith which is the -- which judges these cases. Scientists that. The former Vatican ambassador and archbishop in the Dominican Republic should be people. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- What -- -- spent two months to appeal but it looks very clear that he's very likely to be before. And the -- and they didn't feel I was on the plane coming back from the will be. And he said. In Argentina we haven't seen it -- -- -- sports but sports. He said he -- this situation there are no. There are no couldn't. He's made very clear couldn't lose no Winston -- For one who uses -- Gerard O'Connell with America magazine we certainly appreciate your time your report your right thank you so much. Computer and of course you can keep up with the story in real time by downloading ABC news -- -- in the story for exclusive updates on the go for now. -- Democrats there anymore.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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