Pope Francis thanked journalists Saturday for their coverage of the clerical sexual abuse scandal that’s plagued the Catholic Church.
The pope commended reporters for giving a voice to abuse victims, and praised the “mission” of journalism at a ceremony honoring two veteran Vatican correspondents.
“[I] thank you for what you tell us about what is wrong in the Church, for helping us not to sweep it under the carpet, and for the voice you have given to the abuse victims,” he said.
The ceremony was held to honor Reuters’ journalist Philip Pullella and Valentina Alazraki of Noticieros Televisa in Mexico.
The pope came under fire in the midst of the scandals for not responding fast enough to the allegations. Pope Francis also initially sided with the clergy over abuse victims.
The abuse scandal first came to light in 2002, after coverage led by the Boston Globe featured several articles about minors who had been sexually abused by clergymen.
Critics also went after the church over its attempted concealment of the abuse scandals.
Correction: An earlier version used an incorrect honorific for the pope.