Pope Francis thanked reporters on Saturday for their coverage of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic church.
The pope praised journalists for giving a voice to the victims of abuse and praised the “mission” of journalism during a ceremony honoring two veteran Vatican correspondents.
“[I] thanks for what you tell us about what’s wrong with church, for helping us not to sweep it under the rug and for the voice you gave to the victims of abuse, “he said.
The ceremony was held in honor of Reuters journalist Philip Pullella and Valentina Alazraki of Noticieros Televisa in Mexico.
The pope was targeted in the midst of the scandals for failing to respond quickly enough to the allegations. Even Pope Francis initially sided with the clergy on the victims of abuse.
The abuse scandal first came to light in 2002 after coverage by the Boston Globe featured several articles about minors who had been sexually abused by priests.
The critics went even after the church on his attempt to cover up the abuse scandals.
Correction: An earlier version used an incorrect honorary title for the pope.