Pope Francis rebukes priestly sex abusers

Vatican City: Pope Francis, in his annual Christmas speech to the Vatican bureaucracy, called out sexual abusers from within the clergy and asked them to “convert and hand themselves over to human justice”.

The Pope’s call comes a year after shocking revelations regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergymen rattled the world.

“I myself would like to give heartfelt thanks to those media professionals who were honest and objective and sought to unmask these predators and to make their victims’ voices heard,” the Pope said, encouraging victims to come forward.

He further asserted that the Catholic Church will “never again” conceal priestly sex abuse towards minors.

“To those who abuse minors I would say this – convert and hand yourself over to human justice and prepare for divine justice,” CNN further quoted the Pope as saying.

In August this year, a Pennsylvania grand jury report brought to the fore appalling accounts of sexual abuse faced by more than a thousand children by 300 priests since 1947.

“We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward is in the thousands,” the report had mentioned.

“An effort will be made to make past mistakes opportunities for eliminating this scourge, not only from the body of the Church but also from that of society,” the Pope said, underscoring that the church would make efforts “to protect children to avoid these tragedies”.

A global meeting of bishops will be held in the Vatican in February next year to discuss sexual abuse, the Pope outlined.