Pope Francis is asking forgiveness for recent scandals that have hit Rome and the Vatican.

The pope didn't cite specific examples in his off-the-cuff request for pardon at the start of his Wednesday general audience.

But the past week has seen its fair share of problems: On the eve of Francis' big meeting on the family, a Vatican monsignor came out as gay. Then Rome's mayor resigned amid scandal and criticism by the church. And recently, a leaked letter revealed grave concerns by a dozen cardinals about the way Francis' synod was being run.

Francis said: "Before beginning the catechesis I want in the name of the church to ask forgiveness for the scandals which recently have hit Rome and the Vatican. I ask forgiveness."