(CNN) -- Pope Francis said Friday he feels compelled to "personally ask for forgiveness" for priests who sexually abused children.
"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests -- quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests -- to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said in an interview with Vatican Radio.
The pope's comments come two months after a United Nations panel slammed the Vatican's handling of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and accused the church of protecting itself rather than the victims. The Vatican said in February that it would study the report, which claimed clerics were involved in the sexual abuse of "tens of thousands" of children.
Since taking the helm of the church in March 2013, Pope Francis has told a senior Vatican official to carry out "due proceedings against the guilty" in sexual abuse cases.