Pope Benedict XVI is ready to meet the victims of child sex abuse by Catholic priests and bishops, the Vatican has said.
"Apart from paying attention to the victims, we should continue to put into effect decisively and honestly the relevant judicial and canonical procedures against those responsible and collaborate with civilian judicial and penal authorities," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.
He added that many abuse victims were seeking moral help and wanted justice. In the past, the Pope met victims of abuse at the Vatican and on trips to the US and Australia.
The Catholic Church has been engulfed by allegations of child sex abuse that has emerged across Europe and the US. The allegations have put pressure on the Church in countries including the Pope's native Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria.