Pope Francis addressed the members of the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), which promotes the defense of rights of children worldwide.
Pope Francis expressed his sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by priests. He asked for forgiveness.
"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.”
The Pope added that the Church is aware of the damage, and said that they will continue tackling this problem.
"We will not step back with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children.”
The Pope then thanked the president of BICE for their work to end child slavery, and the recruitment of child soldiers.
Pope Francis also talked about the importance of having children raised in a family, with a mother and father, to aid their "development and emotional maturity.” He also rejected what he called "educational experiments” on children and young people, to impose one way of thinking.