Pope Francis touches his face during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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The Vatican came under blistering criticism from a U.N. committee Thursday for its handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal, facing its most intense public grilling ever over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims.Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, acknowledged that the Holy See had been slow to face the crisis but said that it was now committed to doing so. Victims groups and human rights organizations teamed up to press the U.N. committee to challenge the Holy See on its abuse record, providing written testimony from victims and evidence outlining the global scale of the problem.Victims groups and human rights organizations provided the U.N. committee with the Vatican's own documentation showing how it discouraged bishops from reporting abusers to police.Scicluna said the Holy See wanted to be a model for how to protect children and care for victims.
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