Pope Pledges 'zero tolerance' for clerical child abusers
Abuse compared to celebrating satanic mass; pope to meet victims
DDavid Millward for The Telegraph
May 27, 2014
Sexual abuse of children by priests is an ugly crime comparable to a satanic Mass, Pope Francis said.
Speaking to journalists on his flight back from the Middle East, the Pope announced he would hold his first meeting with victims at the Vatican within the next few weeks.
He said there would be “no privileges” for bishops involved in sex crimes.
“Three bishops are being investigated,” he said. "One of them has already been convicted. There are no privileges. Priests who do this are betraying the Lord.”
The pope said up to eight victims would celebrate Mass with him at St Martha’s, his Vatican residence. He would also meet them privately to talk about the ordeal they had faced.
Earlier this year Vatican officials told the United Nations that the Catholic Church’s Canon Law prosecutors had handled 3,420 abuse cases over the past decade. It had led to 848 priests being unfrocked and a further 2,572 being “ordered to live a life of prayer or penance”.
The Pope’s latest remarks reinforced those he made earlier this year over the child abuse crisis, when he said he felt personally compelled to take on the evil which a number of priests had perpetrated.
In his remarks the Pope, who was elected to the Papacy after Benedict XVI, his predecessor stepped down on health grounds, said he could see circumstances under which he could retire.
"I think that Benedict XVI is not a unique case. I think we should see him as an institution who opened a door, the door of emeritus popes," the 77-year-old pontiff said.