DUBLIN, IRELAND-- On his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Pope Francis tackled the Catholic Church`s ballooning sex abuse scandal head-on.
"I acknowledge the serious scandal, costing Ireland, of the abuse of minors by members of the Church," the pope said.
Speaking in the capital city of Dublin to an audience which included hundreds of political and religious officials, the head of the Catholic Church acknowledged the seriousness of the situation.
"It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandal with has cast light on the failings of so many will serve to emphasize the importance of protecting minors and vulnerable others," he added.
The pope greeted tens of thousands of onlookers as he moved through the city under heavy security, but his message wasn't enough to turn away angry protesters. One protester held a sign that referred to the pope as a pedophile.
The jaw-dropping allegations facing the clergy include an explosive grand jury report out of Pennsylvania which found that as many as 301 priests in the state had sexually abused over 1,000 children over the past 70 years.
Closer to home in Dallas, police are continuing their search for Reverend Edmundo Paredes of St. Cecilia Catholic Church after three men came forward with what officials call credible accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Paredes while they were teenagers.
Church officials think he may be in his native country of the Philippines.