The Pope has asked members of the Catholic Church for forgiveness.
It is an unprecedented step, the reasons for which the Vatican has not clarified.
A spokesman would only say the Pontiff is referring to scandals in which there is a “reponsibility for men of the Church.”
“I ask you for forgiveness,” the Pontiff said during his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, “Jesus is a realist and he says it is inevitable that scandals will occur, but woe betide the man who causes them.”
“Scandals” that have rocked Rome in recent weeks
A senior Polish priest caused a stir at the beginning of October when he revealed he was gay.
The Vatican dismissed Monsignor Kryzsytof Charamsa, who said he had been living with a male partner for years.
The Vatican has also said the Pope’s appeal is not linked to the recent resignation of the Mayor of Rome over an expenses scandal.