DUBLIN - Pope Francis has said he is ashamed of the Catholic Church's failure to adequately address the "repellent crimes" of sex abuse by clergy.
The Irish prime minister earlier delivered a strong warning to the Pope to take action against clergy involved in child abuse and keeping it secret.
The Pope is expected to meet abuse survivors later on Saturday.
The papal visit, the first to the Irish Republic for 39 years, coincides with the World Meeting of Families.
It is a global Catholic gathering held every three years.
The Argentine Pope's opening remarks echoed a letter he sent to the world's 1.2bn Roman Catholics this week, in which he condemned the "atrocities" of child abuse and clerical cover-ups.
"I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education," the Pope told political leaders and dignitaries at Dublin Castle.
"The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community," he said.
"I myself share those sentiments."
The Pope veered off his script when speaking out about abuse, saying he had set out a "greater commitment to eliminating this scourge in the Church, at any cost".(FA)