AP: Pope laments abuse in 1st post-bombshell Vatican appearance

Pope Francis salutes as he arrives for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has lamented how Irish church authorities failed to respond to the crimes of sexual abuse, speaking during his first public appearance at the Vatican after bombshell accusations that he himself covered up for an American cardinal’s misdeeds.

Francis dedicated his general audience Wednesday to his weekend trip to Ireland. The final day of the trip was overshadowed by release of a devastating document from a retired Holy See diplomat accusing Vatican authorities, including Francis, of covering up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite knowing for years that he slept with seminarians.

Francis omitted from his remarks a line in his prepared text noting how he had prayed in Ireland for the Virgin Mary to intervene to give the church strength to “firmly pursue truth and justice” to help victims heal.