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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis confirms "zero tolerance" for pedophilia in the Church

Pope Francis, once again, reiterated his stance on religious or priests being found guilty of sex abuse.

He met with members of the commission he created more than three years ago, to raise awareness of the magnitude of the situation and help prevent and deal with existing cases.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley was in charge of "breaking the ice" and initially addressed the pope.

CARD. SEAN O'MALLEY
Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors

"Your love for the Good Shepherd has created in your heart a desire to establish this commission to help you in your great task of placing the protection of minors among the highest priorities in our Church."

Pope Francis spoke with seriousness, clarity and self-criticism:

He admitted that the Church often becomes aware of the problems after the fact. He said “when the consciousness is delayed, the means for resolving the problem are delayed.”

He spoke about his ability to pardon priests convicted of abusing minors, but said he has never done so nor intends to do so in the future. The person who commits abuse, he said, "is sick." Although he may repent and make amends, he has a good chance of falling again. Therefore, he said “a proven abuse of minors is sufficient to not receive an appeal."

He also said that, for the time being, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will continue to be in charge of dealing with the accusations that arrive and that more staff will be hired to expedite the proceedings.