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'We are sorry for the pain:' London diocese apologizes for sexual abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London, Ont., is apologizing for the pain caused by sexual abuse by priests, after a group of survivors released a list naming their alleged abusers. 

Bishop Ronald Fabbro said there are four other priests who are not named on a list of 36 released this week

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London, Ont., Bishop Ronald Fabbro, has met with many survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London, Ont., is apologizing for the pain caused by sexual abuse by priests, after a group of survivors released a list naming their alleged abusers. 

"We wish to express our utmost regret for the suffering that has been incurred as a result of clergy sexual abuse," the diocese said in a statement Thursday. 

"We are sorry for the pain that clergy sexual abuse has caused." 

In an interview with London Morning on Friday, London Bishop Ronald Fabbro said the list was "substantially correct" and that there are four other priests who aren't on the list who have allegations against them involving minors.

But he wouldn't identify them.

Listen to Bishop Fabbro

Bishop Ronald Fabbro joins London Morning to elaborate on his apology to victims of sexual abuse at the hands clergy in the London Diocese. 11:56

"The survivors that have spoken to me have indicated that they would not want the name of the priest who abused them to be on the list," he said. "Some feel they might be revictimized."

A group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on Wednesday published a list it had compiled of 36 clergy members who were accused of sexual abuse over 50 to 60 years. 

The list includes priests in the London diocese who were charged with or convicted of sexual abuse, or who were linked to victims who made allegations and successfully sued or settled with the church for more than $50,000. 

It only included allegations involving minors. 

Fabbro said all priests who have allegations against them involving a minor, including the four who haven't been named, have been removed from ministry.

If convicted, Fabbro said the response from Rome in recent years has always been to laicize that priest – meaning they're returned to the lay state and are no longer considered a cleric.

He also defended their right to a continued pension.

"That's their money that's been put aside for them," he explained. "It supports them and gives them a better opportunity to get the support that they need, that way when they're in society they would have a less chance of abusing again."

Screened for 'psycho-sexual maturity'

Fabbro said the church ensures candidates for priesthood have a "psycho-sexual maturity about them" and that there's a strict screening process to ensure they don't have psychological disorders.

"When we look at the priests who have abused, often there has been a lack of understanding of their sexuality," he explained.

When asked whether he'd work with SNAP, Fabbro said he was willing to meet with survivors. The diocese has said it will co-operate with police and judicial authorities whenever an investigation is required.