Almost 48 hours after the initial release of the report, the director of the Vatican's Press Office, Greg Burke, issued a statement, saying, "Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these awful crimes: shame and sorrow".
"There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these disgusting crimes: shame and sorrow", it said.
Even before the report was released, a series of scandals over the last few decades involving pedophile priests and systematic attempts by pastors and bishops to cover up the abuse by shuttling offenders to new parishes had rocked the faith of many Catholics in the United States.
The report has also reignited longstanding calls from abuse survivors for a federal investigation by the Justice Department.
Others wanted all Catholic dioceses to voluntarily release lists of all current and former priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Wuerl helped to protect allegedly abusive priests during his time as bishop of Pittsburgh, according to the report.
Survivor James Faluszczuk, who was abused by a priest in the Erie diocese, center, speaks with media after the press conference, August 14, 2018, in Harrisburg, Penn.
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The accounts of abuse against children were detailed in a redacted, 1,356-page report from a Pennsylvania grand jury on Tuesday of this week, in which the alleged abusers were identified. "Many, including some named in this report, have been promoted".
The report, published Tuesday, unearthed graphic stories of boys and girls assaulted and raped by Catholic priests in the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.
Its findings echoed many earlier church investigations around the country, describing widespread sexual abuse and church officials' concealment of it.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the USCCB's president, called the failure of bishops on the issue of child sexual abuse a "moral catastrophe".
But the Vatican stressed the "need to comply" with civil law, including mandatory reporting of abuse against minors.
Four months ago, Francis acknowledged "grave errors" in judgmentin his response to a scandal in Chile after he initially defended a bishop who was accused of having known about abuses by a priest in the southern city of Osorno.
Pope Francis has compared sex abuse by priests to participating in a "Satanic Mass", but he has also been accused of being too soft on paedophiles, extending to them a general policy of mercy he is promoting in the church.