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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One of his first moves as pope, Francis orders specific actions be taken.

Pope Francis has made a powerful and decisive move to crack down on pedophile priests and to heal the wounds of victims. Saying the Church must act "with determination" Francis has told the bishops of the Church that they are to take specific steps.

Pope Francis praying at the tomb of Pope John Paul II.

Pope Francis praying at the tomb of Pope John Paul II.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Pope Francis, child sex abuse, scandal, cover up, bishops, conference, clergy sexual abuse


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis met with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop Ludwig Mueller and recommended that the Church continue to pursue the course set by Pope Benedict to crack down on pedophile and sexually abusive clergy. He asked the Bishop "to act with determination."

Additionally, Pope Francis cited several measures that would help to protect minors and victims. Most importantly, he asked all bishop's conferences around the world to draft and implement directives to handle child abuse within the Church, saying it was important to the credibility of the Church that this be done swiftly.

The conferences will need to meet individually to determine the various approaches they will take. The approaches will be different because laws vary greatly around the world when it comes to child abuse. However, Pope Francis has made it clear that such abuse will not be tolerated within the Church, no matter what local law says.

This is not to suggest that prior popes have tolerated it. However, they have been less aware of the problem because some regional authorities kept quiet about the issues.

Pope Francis has also called for the bishops to take more steps to serve the victims of abuse.

Since there are no specific rules and regulations announced at this time, it is difficult to say what impact these moves will have over the long run, however it is reasonable to expect this it will help end, on a global scale, the practice of sheltering abusive clergy  and make children safer by providing them with improved protections.

In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a zero tolerance policy for abusive clergy requiring their immediate removal from ministry and mandated reporting to the authorities. It is also expected that ongoing high-level, civil and criminal prosecution of Church officials who have sheltered abusive clergy will also change attitudes in the United States.

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