Sexual abuse of children in church unjustifiable says Vatican

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Pope Francis

The Vatican has been defending its handling of the scandal involving the sexual abuse of children by catholic priests before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Vatican representative in Geneva Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the committee the catholic church is against any attempts by Church officials to cover up investigations involving the sexual abuse of children by the clergy.

Archbishop Tomasi said the sexual abuse of children in the church was a criminal offence which could never be justified, adding that such crimes should be tried within the countries where they were committed.

He said Pope Francis had announced the establishment of a commission for the protection of minors which will help to fight sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church and offer help to victims.

"Pope Francis clearly stated his intention to follow the careful attention given by his predecessors to this serious problem by sharing his own deep concern with the Bishops of the Netherlands and offering them some strong counsel and I quote, "In particular, I want to express my compassion and assure my prayers to all victims of sexual abuse and their families. I ask you to continue to support them along their painful path of healing undertaken with courage. He undertook new actions and thus announced the creation of a new commission for the protection of minors with the aim of proposing new initiatives for the development of safe environment programmes for children and improving efforts for the pastoral care for victims of abuse around the world."

The Vatican said it was encouraging its clergy to listen to the victims of sexual abuse, acknowledge their suffering and offer spiritual and psychological assistance with a view to fostering healing, reconciliation and social rehabilitation.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’04″

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