SYDNEY, July 19 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI made a public apology Saturday for clerical sexual abuse in Australia, speaking to an audience that was largely Catholic religious.
Benedict echoed a similar apology made during his first visit to the United States as pope this year, The New York Times reported.
"I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country," he said. "These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church's witness."
Benedict is in Australia for World Youth Day, a gathering of thousands of young Catholics from all over the world. His activities have ranged from celebrating a large outdoor mass to meeting religious leaders from other faiths.
At St. Mary's Cathedral, the pope addressed a group that included many seminarians in training for the priesthood and novices preparing for the monastic life.
The issue of sexual abuse is a sensitive one in Australia. Anthony Foster, whose young daughters were sexually assaulted by a Melbourne priest 20 years ago, said he was disappointed and called the pope's apology "only words."