Pope Francis Prays For Tens Of Thousands Of Victims Of Clerical Sex Abuse in France, Urges Catholic Church To Seek 'Redemption'

Pope Francis Prays For Tens Of Thousands Of Victims Of Clerical Sex Abuse in France, Urges Catholic Church To Seek 'Redemption' Pope Francis prays during his general audience in St Peter’s square at the Vatican on October 5, 2016. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis has expressed his "great sorrow" for the tens of thousands of victims of sexual abuse by French Catholic clergy a day after the publication of a devastating report.

A report into sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church concluded that about 216,000 children have been abused by clergymen since 1950 and and more than 100,000 others were abused by lay employees of church institutions., Jean-March Sauvé, head of the commission that compiled the report, said on Tuesday (Oct 5),

The 2,500-page document prepared by an independent commission comes as the Catholic Church in France, like in other countries, seeks to face up to shameful secrets that were long covered up.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis’ “thoughts go first of all to the victims, with great sorrow for their wounds and gratitude for their courage in reporting” their abuse.

Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church in the country to “undertake a path of redemption.”

Pope Francis learned “with sorrow” of the contents of a report that came at the end of a four-year investigation into abuse in the church in France, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters

The pope also prayed that the Catholic Church in France, “in the awareness of this appalling reality” of the suffering of vulnerable children, would trace out a path of repentance and reform.

“With his prayer, the pope entrusts to the Lord the people of God in France, particularly the victims, that he may give them comfort and consolation, and with justice may the miracle of healing come,” Bruni said.

The report, released Oct. 5, was written by an investigating commission led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, a senior civil servant.