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For the first time since his letter to Irish Catholics last month, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church at his weekly address in St. Peter's Square, promising action without naming specifics.
Benedict talked about a meeting in he'd had over the weekend in Malta with eight men claiming they had been abused as children by priests in a church-run orphanage, the Associated Press reports.
''I shared with them their suffering, and emotionally prayed with them, assuring them of church action,'' Benedict said.
Following the meeting, the Vatican issued a statement saying the pope had promised the men the church would do everything in its power to bring justice to abusive priests and would implement ''effective measures'' to protect children.
He reiterated that promise at Wednesday's address.
The Vatican has come under fire for its handling of the sex abuse scandal. Last week, the pope's second in command, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, linked the sex scandal among priests to homosexuality.
A Vatican spokesperson later attempted to distance the church from his comments.
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