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Pope calls child sex abuse like 'human sacrifice', vows 'all-out battle'

His address to bishops at the end of a landmark summit promised an “all-out battle” against abusive priests,

Image: ABACA

POPE FRANCIS TODAY vowed to tackle every single case of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church, comparing paedophilia to “human sacrifice”.

His public address to top bishops at the end of a landmark summit in the Vatican promised an “all-out battle” against abusive priests, but blamed the devil and insisted the Church was not the only place children were assaulted.

“If in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse – which already in itself represents an atrocity – that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness”, Francis promised.

“I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings – frequently children – in pagan rites,” he said.

The sexual abuse of minors was “a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies,” Francis said, and he slammed those priests who prey on children as “tools of Satan”.

“I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas… for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” he said.

Children must be “protected from ravenous wolves”, he said, adding: “We stand face to face with the mystery of evil”.

‘Waste of time’

The pontiff had opened the four-day meeting by calling for “concrete measures” against child sex abuse and handing 114 senior bishops a roadmap to shape the debate on tackling paedophile priests.

The 82-year-old had warned victims to lower their expectations, saying much of the work would be done post-summit. 

Swiss victim Jean-Marie Furbringer said: “Honestly it’s a pastoral ‘blabla’, saying it’s the fault of the devil”.

“It talks about the devil, it talks about evil… There is no talk about permanently excluding child rapists and abusers who are employees of the Church,” said Britain’s Peter Saunders, a victim who resigned from a Vatican advisory commission on combating abuse.

“From a child protection point of view it’s been a waste of time. From keeping the world’s eyes on this institution and its failure to protect children, it’s been a great success,” he said.

The meeting has been marked by soul-seeking and self-recrimination by the Church, and horror stories from abuse victims.

With reporting by AFP

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