Pope Francis condemns prostitution as torture

Pope Francis condemns prostitution as torture
Pope Francis sits among youths for a group photo during the opening session of the pre-synod of the youths meeting, at the the Mater Ecclesiae college in Rome, Monday, March 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has asked forgiveness for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying that men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.

He insisted Monday: “This isn’t making love. This is torturing a woman. Let’s not confuse the terms.”

Francis spoke during a four-hour long listening session with 300 young people invited by the Vatican to brief church leaders about what kids these days think about the Catholic Church. It’s a preparatory meeting for a big synod of bishops on the fall on young people.

Francis had urged the delegates to speak with courage. He insisted: “Young people must be taken seriously.”