Vatican City (Afp) – Pope Francis On Sunday Vowed To Tackle Every Single Case Of Sexual Abuse By Priests In The Roman Catholic Church, Comparing Pedophilia To “human Sacrifice” In A Speech That Left Victims Cold.
His public address to top bishops at the end of a landmark summit in the Vatican promised an “all-out battle” against abusive priests, but blamed the devil and insisted the Church was not the only place children were assaulted.
“If in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse – which already in itself represents an atrocity – that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness”, Francis promised.
“I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings – frequently children – in pagan rites,” he said.
The sexual abuse of minors was “a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies,” Francis said, and he slammed those priests who prey on children as “tools of Satan”.
“I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas… for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” he said.
Children must be “protected from ravenous wolves”, he said, adding: “We stand face to face with the mystery of evil”.
– ‘Waste of time’ –
The scandals have hit countries around the world, with lives devastated from Australia to Chile, Germany and the US.
The Argentine had opened the four-day meeting by calling for “concrete measures” against child sex abuse and handing 114 senior bishops a roadmap to shape the debate on tackling paedophile priests.
The 82-year-old had warned victims to lower their expectations, saying much of the work would be done post-summit.
Swiss victim Jean-Marie Furbringer said: “Honestly it’s a pastoral ‘blabla’, saying it’s the fault of the devil”.