“Convert and hand yourself over,” Pope Francis orders pedophile priests
| Vatican City – Pope Francis vowed Friday that the Catholic Church will “never again” cover up clergy sex abuse and demanded that priests who have raped and molested children turn themselves in.
Francis dedicated his annual Christmas speech to the Vatican bureaucracy to abuse, evidence that a year of devastating revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-up has shaken his papacy and caused a crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy.
Francis acknowledged that the church in the past had failed to treat the problem seriously, blaming leaders who out of inexperience or short-sightedness acted “irresponsibly” by refusing to believe victims.
“The greater scandal in this matter is that of cloaking the truth,” he said.
But he vowed that going forward the church would never cover up or dismiss cases again.
“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,” he said.
He urged victims to come forward, thanked the media for giving them a voice and issued a stark warning to abusers:
“Convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.”
“This is no easy task, since the guilty are capable of skillfully covering their tracks,” and choosing victims who they know will keep silent. He urged those who have been abused to speak out. Read more.
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