TALLINN, Estonia — Pope Francis conceded Tuesday that priestly sex abuse scandals are outraging the Catholic faithful and driving them away, and said the church must change its ways if it wants to keep future generations.

Francis referred directly to the crisis convulsing his papacy on the fourth and final day of his Baltic pilgrimage, which coincided with the release of a devastating new report into decades of sex abuse and cover-ups in Germany.

Francis told young people in Estonia, considered one of the least religious countries in the world, that he knew many felt the church had nothing to offer them and simply doesn’t understand the problems of young adults today.

“They are outraged by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them,” he told Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox young people in the Kaarli Lutheran Church in the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

The pope said the Catholic Church wants to respond to those complaints transparently and honestly.

“We ourselves need to be converted,” he said. “We have to realize that, in order to stand by your side, we need to change many situations that, in the end, put you off.”

It was a very public admission of the impact of the church’s failures in confronting sex abuse scandals, which have roared back to the headlines recently with revelations of abuses and cover-ups in the U.S., Chilean and now German churches.

On Tuesday, the German bishops conference released a report which found that some 3,677 people – more than half of them 13 or younger and nearly a third of them altar boys – were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014.

The report, compiled by university researchers, found evidence that some files were manipulated or destroyed, many cases were not brought to justice and some abusers were moved to other dioceses without congregations being informed about their past.

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