Pope Benedict has held a meeting with victims of abuse by priests in Malta, telling them the Church will do everything in its power to punish abusers.
Three priests are accused of abusing orphaned children in Malta in the 1980s and 1990s.
A Vatican statement says he expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered at the hands of paedophile priests.
The private meeting took place at the end of a visit to Malta by the Pope.
The Vatican says the Pope promised to implement effective measures to safeguard young people in the future.
This was the first time the pontiff had met with victims since the worldwide clerical abuse row erupted this year, the BBC reports.