Pope says abusive priests should surrender to justice

Pope Francis I at the Vatican.
Pope Francis I at the Vatican.
Image: Getty Images

Pope Francis called on Friday for anyone who has committed child abuse, including priests, to hand themselves over to human justice.

"To those who abuse minors I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice," the pope told the Church's Curia governing body.

The Pope also told the governing body that it will never again treat abuse allegations without "seriousness and promptness",

"The Church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case," the pope said in his annual address to the Roman Curia at the Vatican.

"Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes," the pope said.

"It is undeniable that some in the past, out of irresponsibility, disbelief, lack of training, inexperience, or spiritual and human short-sightedness, treated many cases without the seriousness and promptness that was due.

"That must never happen again. This is the choice and the decision of the whole Church."

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