In letter to world’s Catholics, Pope Francis addresses church sex abuse

Posted: Updated:
ROCKVILLE CENTRE -

Pope Francis has released a letter to Catholics around the world following a bombshell report on the sexual abuse of children by priests in Pennsylvania.

The grand jury report also contains allegations that the new head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre played a role in covering up some of the crimes.

"Maybe he should step down," Lynbrook's Diane Macchio says of Bishop John Barres, who previously served in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The diocese says Bishop Barres denies the allegations that he mishandled allegations against priests in Allentown.

In the letter, the pope admitted that the Roman Catholic Church has failed to address the abuse.

"We showed no care for the little ones," Francis wrote. "We abandoned them."

Kathleen Mayerhofen is a Catholic from Rockville Centre.

"I've been a devout Catholic my entire life," she says. "It makes me very sad."

Annie Oftring, also from Rockville Centre, agrees.

"It's sad that this is still happening, but hopefully changes will be made," she says. "It's been going on for a while, and it's a shame religious figures knew about this and no one came out sooner."  

And Claire Logler says she hopes those changes are significant and impactful.

"I think an awful lot of thought would have to be put into exactly what his next step should be," she says.

For his part, the pope says he will change the church's culture to prevent future abuse and cover-ups. 

In his letter, he does not include details on how he might accomplish that.

Dave Tenenzaph has an idea.

"It should have been addressed in each church, in each situation," he says. "It has to be from the ground up."

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Monday, October 7 2019 12:12 PM EDT2019-10-07 16:12:23 GMT
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
  • Your Kids Corner Photos

    Your Kids Corner Photos

    Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.
    Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.
    Did you do something fun with your kids this weekend? Share your adventure with us!
    Did you do something fun with your kids this weekend? Share your adventure with us!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."