Pope, ending conference, calls for 'all-out battle' against abuse of minors

Pope Francis vowed to confront abusers with'the wrath of God

Pope Francis vowed to confront abusers with'the wrath of God

The Catholic Church will stop covering up the crimes of paedophile priests "as was usual in the past", Pope Francis has said in a speech, marking the end of the Vatican's anti-child abuse conference.

Pope Francis ponders during a liturgical prayer within the third day of a landmark Vatican summit on tackling pedophilia in the clergy at the Vatican.

"We are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth", Francis said.

He said the Church "in developing her legislation" will focus on eight aspects: "the protection of children", "impeccable seriousness", "genuine purification", "formation", "strengthening and reviewing guidelines by Episcopal Conferences" and "accompaniment of those who have been abused".

But advocates for victims expressed deep disappointment, saying Francis merely repeated old promises and offered few concrete proposals.

Francis vowed the Roman Catholic Church would "spare no effort" to bring abusers to justice and would not cover up or underestimate abuse.

Pope Francis said child sex abuse was a problem across the world.

"We are thus facing a universal problem, tragically present nearly everywhere and affecting everyone".

He said the brutality of the sexual abuse of minors was even more grotesque and scandalous when it took place within the Church.

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In his wide-ranging speech on Sunday, Francis framed the church's abuse crisis within the wider context of society, even saying that pagans, in history, had "sacrificed children" in rituals.

Anne Barrett-Doyle of the US-based clergy abuse tracking group bishopaccountability.org, called it a "stunning letdown" that did not sufficient address the grief and outrage of the faithful. "We need to be concrete".

In his final remarks to the summit, Francis noted that the vast majority of sexual abuse happens in the family.

"For this reason, the Church has now become increasingly aware of the need not only to curb the gravest cases of abuse by disciplinary measures and civil and canonical processes, but also to decisively confront the phenomenon both inside and outside the Church", he continued. "He gave us instead defensive, recycled rhetoric", Barrett-Doyle said.

The Pope spoke largely in general terms, but victims and survivors of abuse will call for detailed practical steps to be announced, says the BBC's Vatican correspondent, James Reynolds.

Earlier today in a homily, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, said the leaders in the church "have been our own worst enemy".

TRT World's Sarah Morice reports.

"We need to recognize with humility and courage that we stand face to face with the mystery of evil, which strikes most violently against the most vulnerable, for they are an image of Jesus", Pope Francis said February 24 following the Vatican summit's closing Mass in the Sala Regia.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the organisers of the summit, told journalists he understood the "frustration" of survivors, insisting: "the expectations of victims should also be our expectations, and they are". "In that sense, we have been our own worst enemy".

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