Pope Francis Holds Mass, Meets with Sex Abuse Victims

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-07_e1dfb0652e.jpgDan Kitwood/Getty Images (ROME) -- In a mass held by Pope Francis inside the Vatican Monday morning, the leader of the world's Catholics told sexual abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and have been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained." The pope met on Monday with six victims of sex abuse from Ireland, Britain and Germany.

The Vatican reports Pope Francis had a private encounter with each one and a family member, spending almost three and a half hours total in closed-door talks with the victims. In the mass before the meetings, the pope said he personally committed himself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not, and that he would hold all bishops accountable for protecting young people.

Many victims groups, especially from the U.S., have dismissed the encounter as a Catholic Church public relations stunt. They say the Vatican still lacks a global mandatory policy requiring the church to report all abuses to civil authorities and has yet to release all its records regarding abusing priests and bishops.

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