Last Friday, Pope Francis directly addressed sexual abusers within the clergy, telling the perpetrators to turn themselves in and face justice.

The Supreme Pontiff’s comments came in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia last Friday in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall. In his strongest statement on the sex abuse scandal yet, speaking directly to abusers within the Church, Pope Francis firmly declared:

“To those who abuse minors I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.”

Pope Francis also pledged that the Church will “never again” ignore allegations of abuse, and will “never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” but instead bring all guilty priests to justice.

“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.”

Pope Francis also addressed the culture within the Church that allowed for the abuse to remain hidden.

“The greater scandal in this matter is that of cloaking the truth.”

Pope Francis’ comments come ahead of February’s summit of Catholic Bishop conference presidents covering the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church.

You can read Pope Francis’ full address to the Curia last Friday on the Vatican’s website here.

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