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Pope Apologizes for Abuse in Unprecedented Letter

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Pope Benedict XVI has apologized to victims of sex abuse by Irish priests in a letter issued to the country's Catholics.

The pope said there had been "serious mistakes" in handling the global accusations of pedophilia from priests upon children, in the first statement by the Vatican about the matter.

Ireland is only one of the many nations where such accusations have been made, including Germany, the pope's home country; Switzerland; the Netherlands; Austria; and the United States, according to BBC News.

"Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. ... I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel," he wrote.

The letter did not criticize the Catholic Church's attempts to cover up the abuse. The pope said that Vatican officials will visit Ireland to inspect some dioceses.

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