The Pope has said Catholic priests who sexually abuse children are guilty of a ‘heinous crime.’
His words came in a statement after two days of crisis talks with 24 Irish bishops at the Vatican, in response to a damning report on the extent of child sex abuse by priests.
The bishops promised the Pope they are committed to working with the civil authorities’ investigations.
The statement read: “The Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image. While realizing that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve.”
The Murphy Commission Report, published last November, said the Catholic Church in Ireland had ‘obsessively’ concealed child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1975 to 2004.
The authors said all Dublin bishops in charge at the time had been aware of some complaints but the Church was more interested in protecting its reputation than children.