Pope Francis has vowed that the Catholic Church will “never again” cover up clergy sex abuse.
During his annual Christmas address to Vatican officials, he also demanded that priests who have abused children turn themselves in.
Acknowledging the gravity of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, Pope Francis told members of the Roman Curia that the Church’s strength does not depend on its members’ perfection, but on the willingness to recognise its failings and correct them.
“Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes,” the pope said today, 21st December, during his annual pre-Christmas meeting with officials of the Curia.
And speaking directly to clerics who have abused children, Pope Francis said: “Convert and hand yourself over to human justice and prepare for divine justice.”
While it is “undeniable” that in the past many allegations of abuse were not handled with the necessary “seriousness and promptness,” the pope said, “that must never happen again.”
“The Church,” he said, “will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case.”
Picture: Pope Francis delivers his speech at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini).