Pope acknowledges 2,000-case backlog in sex abuse cases

Pope Francis addresses journalists during the traditional press conference on his flight back to Rome, following a two-day visit at Fatima, Portugal, Saturday, May 13, 2017. Pope Francis added two Portuguese shepherd children to the roster of Catholic saints Saturday, honoring young siblings whose reported visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago turned the Portuguese farm town of Fatima into one of the world's most important Catholic shrines. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool Photo via AP)

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) – Pope Francis says the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases and admits criticism of the slow pace is justified. But he says more staff are being added and the Vatican is “on the right path.”

Francis was making his first comments about the criticism leveled at the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases by Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from Francis’ sex abuse commission in March. Collins quit because of what she called the “unacceptable” resistance in the Vatican to implementing the group’s proposals to better care for victims and protect children.

Speaking to reporters while flying home Saturday from Portugal, Francis called Collins “a great woman” and said she was “a bit right” to complain about the slow pace in processing cases.

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