Pope Francis met with six victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church on Monday. Before the meeting, the pope's first with victims of sexual abuse and the first any pope has held at the Vatican, Francis reportedly begged for forgiveness during a private mass.

The Associated Press reports that Francis held a private mass for the victims and then met with each individually in his apartment. During the mass, he expressed "sorrow" and said, "I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves."

The Vatican recently made new protocols to hold bishops accountable for not reporting abuse. It's not clear if those are working yet, but Vatican Insider publisher Andrea Tornelli notes, "The change of mentality the Church needs takes more time. that is why a gesture like [Francis's meetings with sex abuse victims] is so important because it will contribute to changing that mentality."

[Image via AP]