Pope Francis said that women have "legitimate claims" for equality in a Vatican communication released Thursday. 

"A living Church can react by being attentive to the legitimate claims of those women who seek greater justice and equality," he said in the release. "With this outlook, she can support the call to respect women’s rights, and offer convinced support for greater reciprocity between males and females, while not agreeing with everything some feminist groups propose."


He did not call for giving women leadership positions within the Catholic Church as certain bishops have requested, according to the Associated Press. The document released by the Vatican, called an Apostolic Exhortation and commonly released following an assembly, follows an October meeting on ministering to Catholic youth held in the midst of sex abuse allegations plaguing the church. The document is dedicated to the young.  

Pope Francis also condemned the "sins" of sexual abuse and said that if people see a "priest at risk" they should "remind him of his commitment to God and his people, remind him of the Gospel and urge him to hold to his course."

In recent months, hundreds of priests have been accused of sexual abuse in bombshell reports from PennsylvaniaIllinois and Texas