Pope Francis is asking for forgiveness from people who were sexually abused by priests.

Francis was speaking today to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, a French Catholic network of organizations that aim to protect children's rights.

Francis says he feels "called to take it upon'' himself to ask forgiveness for the evil that some priests have committed against children.

The pope also says the church doesn't want to "take a step back in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed.''