Pedophile priests cause shame to Church: Pope

New York, Sep 25 (IANS) Pope Francis has called pedophilia, which certain US priests are engaging in, “shameful” in a homily he delivered at St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York.

Francis also expressed his “closeness” with “Islamic brothers” regarding the tragedy that occurred in Makkah on Thursday, where at least 717 people died in a stampede during the annual Muslim Haj, reported Efe news agency.

The pontiff prayed at vespers — the traditional evening prayers — before a large audience of US clergy and Catholic faithful.

He acknowledged that “you have suffered much because of the shame caused by brothers who have wounded and scandalised the church (by abusing) its most helpless children.”

The pontiff, speaking in Spanish, said he knows the suffering the “people of god” have endured because of these acts, which he called “crimes” earlier this week at a meeting with US bishops.

“I accompany you in this time of sadness and difficulty, and I thank god for the service you are doing in accompanying the people of god,” Francis told the assembled clergy in the majestic New York cathedral.

The pope on Thursday urged everyone to work to ensure that acts of pedophilia by the clergy never occur again, as they had during what he termed “dark moments” in recent years in this country.

The pope will deliver a speech at the UN before some 150 heads of state and government, who will gather there to approve the new global development agenda.

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