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Pope apologizes for series of Vatican scandals

Pope Francis has offered a public apology for a number of recent scandals to rock Rome and the Vatican. The pontiff is presiding over a three-week council to discuss church teachings and family.

The apology from the head of the Roman Catholic Church comes as the Vatican finds itself at the center of a number of scandals, including a gay priest coming out against the church's stance on homosexuality and statements against Rome's mayor, who resigned last week.

"I want, in the name of the Church, to ask forgiveness for the scandals which have recently hit Rome and the Vatican. I ask you for forgiveness," the pope said to an audience at Saint Peter's Square on Wednesday.

The pontiff is

overseeing a three-week global council of cardinals and bishops

to discuss church teachings and the family. It started off with a Polish priest who had been at the Vatican for 17 years

coming out as gay and criticizing homophobia within the church.

He was dismissed.

That was followed by

Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, resigning

over a scandal in which he wined and dined friends and family using city funds. The pope and church had said they had little confidence in the mayor's ability to handle millions of pilgrims for the Jubilee Year of Mercy in December. The pope also said on his return from the US that the mayor had not been invited to Philadelphia but had come anyway.

In another scandal, a leaked letter showed that at a dozen conservative cardinals had criticized the way the synod was being run and questioned any compromises the church took on marriage.

In issuing the apology, the pope did not mention any particular scandal or provide examples.

cw/kms (AFP, AP)

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