PITTSBURGH — The Vatican released a statement Thursday about a bombshell grand jury report documenting hundreds of abusive Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, calling the alleged behavior "criminal and morally reprehensible."
The report, which documented an investigation into six western Pennsylvania dioceses that found 1,000 victims of abuse over a period of decades, prompted apologies from local Catholic leaders before its release on Tuesday.
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"The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and all of society," the Vatican said in the release.
Parishioners were shaken by the scope of the abuse and the alleged efforts to cover up the behavior of so-called "predator priests" by senior church leaders. One aspect of the report led to an investigation into the decision by a former district attorney not to prosecute child abuse cases within one diocese.
The Vatican's full statement is below:
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