Pope says on side of victims of US ‘predator’ priests

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Pope Francis waves to pilgrims during The Angelus Prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square, The Vatican on August 15, 2018, on The Feast of Assumption.
The pontiff said his thoughts are with the families of the victims, the wounded and the displaced following the deadly Morandi bridge collapse in Genoa. / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

The Vatican said on Thursday Pope Francis was on the side of victims of more than 300 “predator” priests in the United States accused of abusing over 1,000 children across seven decades.

“Victims should know that the pope is on their side.

Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent,” the Vatican said in a statement after a devastating US grand jury report was published on Tuesday that decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church.