At a Christmas address at the Vatican today, Pope Francis pledged that the Catholic Church will “never again” cover up sexual abuse, and said that clergy members who are guilty of sexually abusing children should turn themselves in. He added that they should “prepare for divine justice.”
The Catholic Church has been rocked by the ongoing sexual abuse crisis over the past year, which reached all the way to Pope Francis’s inner circle, with two cardinals last week being removed as his close advisers and a third stepping down. Top members of the clergy were expelled or resigned in countries around the world. In May, every bishop in Chile offered their resignation as the scandal exploded there. Here in the U.S., a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation revealed systematic, widespread sexual abuse in the church. The Justice Department has opened investigations into several dioceses.