The Vatican mentioned on Friday it was launching a preliminary investigation into French cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, after he admitted to a "reprehensible" act on a 14-year-old.

France's Catholic church on Monday revealed that 11 former or serving French bishops have been accused of sexual violence or failing to report abuse instances -- together with Ricard, who confessed to assaulting a woman many years in the past.

"In an effort to correctly look at what occurred, it has been determined to open a preliminary inquiry," spokesman Matteo Bruni informed journalists within the Vatican's first public response to the scandal.

The Vatican has nonetheless to nominate a lead investigator. It was on the lookout for an acceptable particular person "with the mandatory autonomy, impartiality and expertise", Bruni mentioned.

French prosecutors mentioned on Tuesday that that they had launched an inquiry into Ricard, a long-standing bishop of Bordeaux who was made a cardinal by pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

"Thirty-five years in the past, after I was a priest, I behaved in a reprehensible method in the direction of a woman of 14," Ricard wrote in a message to the Bishops' Convention of France.

"There isn't a doubt that my conduct precipitated critical and long-lasting penalties for that particular person," the cardinal mentioned, including that he had since requested the girl for forgiveness.

Pope Francis mentioned on Sunday that the Catholic church was working "as greatest we are able to" to battle clerical baby abuse however admitted there have been shortfalls.

(AFP)

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