Pope Francis admits the Catholic Church “arrived late” to sexually abusive priests who have targeted children.
In candid comments, the 80-year-old leader told a sexual abuse commission on Thursday of his commitment to change rules around dealing with priests found guilty of abusing, Reuters reports.
“There is the reality that the Church arrived at the consciousness of these crimes a bit late,” he said.
“When consciousness arrives late, the means to resolve the problems also arrive late. I am aware of this difficulty but it is reality and I say it plainly: We arrived late.”
“The old practice of moving people around and not confronting the problem made consciences fall asleep."
Francis has promised to change existing Vatican rules to limit appeal options for pedophile priests convicted by church tribunals, which he says were often were caught up in legal red tape, and allowed for reduced sentences based on procedural grounds.
“I have decided to balance this out and say that if an abuse of a minor is proven, it is sufficient and there should be no recourse,” he said.
“If the proof is there. Period. It’s definitive.”