Pope asks forgiveness for sex abuse "shame" in Catholic Church

He has addressed massive crowds in Rome

Pope asks forgiveness for sex abuse "shame" in Catholic Church

Pope Francis presides over the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession on Good Friday in front of Rome's Colosseum | Image: Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images

Pope Francis has used his Easter message to ask God for forgiveness for scandals in the Catholic Church.

At the traditional candlelit Good Friday service at The Colosseum in Rome, the Pontiff addressed some 20,000 people about the "shame" of humanity, with daily scenes of bombed cities and drowning migrants.

This was the traditional Via Crucis - or Way of the Cross.

At the end of the two-hour service, he read a prayer he wrote around the theme of shame and hope and also greeted crowds.

Pope Francis presides over the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession on Good Friday in front of Rome's Colosseum | Image: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Press Association Images

The Pope said: "Also this year we return to you with our eyes lowered in shame and a heart full of hope.

"In shame for all the scenes of devastation, destruction, and drownings that have become ordinary in our lives.

"In shame for the daily spilling of the innocent blood of women, children, immigrants and persons who are persecuted for the colour of their skin or because of their ethnicity or social standing and social diversity for their faith in You.

"Shame for all the times that we bishops, priests, brothers and nuns scandalised and wounded your body, the Church."

Pope Francis presides over the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession on Good Friday in front of Rome's Colosseum | Image: Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images

In a similar theme, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin offered reflections at Dublin's Phoenix Park on Good Friday for the Way of the Cross here.

Archbishop Martin said: "Scandals within the Church, bitterness and division, empty ritual, a false clerical culture of superiority, judgementalism of people who Jesus would have welcomed, have all contributed to darkening the possibility of many to recognise the true Jesus.

"Pope Francis constantly warns of the danger of a Church which is just inward looking, protective of its institution, arrogant rather than merciful."