Pope acknowledges sex abuse scandals are driving away the faithful

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE -

While on tour in Estonia Tuesday, Pope Francis admitted that the sex abuse scandals that are rocking the Catholic Church are taking their toll and driving away the faithful.

The admission comes on the same day as the release of a new report into decades of church sex abuse and cover-ups in Germany. The pope made the comments on the fourth and final day of his Baltic pilgrimage.

“I do think it is the right tone to take,” says Darnelle Casimir, of Rockville Centre. “I think we are living in a more inclusive society when it comes to Catholicism. In ways, it is an archaic religion and some of its philosophies are outdated.”

Pope Francis went on to say that the scandals and the way the church has reacted have let down young people. He says young people are not turning to the church as they used to.

"We, ourselves, need to be converted,” said the pope. “We have to realize that in order to stand by your side, we need to change many situations that, in the end, put you off."

Pope Francis says he plans to meet with top Catholic officials from around the world in February at the Vatican to discuss the sex assault scandals.

Some who claim they were abused remain skeptical that anything will change.

“Nothing will change unfortunately,” said Harold Siering, of Massapequa Park.

Siering says he was abused by members of the church on Long Island when he was in seventh grade. He's says he'll believe the pope is willing to change when the church addresses abuse head-on.

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