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Local reaction to Pope Francis' statement on child abuse scandals

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Pope Francis (Source: MGN Online) Pope Francis (Source: MGN Online)
Fr. Robert Begin Fr. Robert Begin
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Local churches reacted Friday after the Pope asked for public forgiveness for all the Catholic priests who sexually abused thousands of children.

Father Robert Begin of St. Colman Catholic Church is not surprised by the pope's comments

"Well, that would fit in with Pope Francis, that's exactly the kind of person he is," Begin said.

Years of sex scandals, court fees and payouts  have bankrupt many catholic churches, all because of the priests who for years sexually abused thousands of children, most of whom were young boys.

Rita Garrettner, also of St. Colman believes in forgiveness without prosecution, and here's why.

"They've certainly suffered enough with this being exposed," Garrettner said.

Amber Sterns is Christian, not Catholic, and says those priests abused their positions of trust to sexually assault children and those priests should be treated like criminals.

"I think they should be prosecuted, yes," Sterns said.

Father Begin says people should not confuse forgiveness with non prosecution.

"It's the same, I can forgive you for not paying me back but you still owe me," Begin said.

Part of the Pope's statement included; "We will not take one step back... from the problem ...and that sanctions must be imposed." 

But some groups say the Pope and the church must do more to protect children.

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