Speaking at his anti-abuse summit at the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis vowed to crack down on pedophile priests within the Roman Catholic Church.
The crimes won’t be covered up “as was usual in the past,” he promised at the end of the four-day series of meetings of Catholic leaders, according to German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The pope also called for an “all-out battle” to be waged against abuse, which he demanded be “erased from the face of the earth,” Reuters reported.
The statement comes just after German Cardinal Reinhard Marx admitted on Saturday that documents that could have named abusers “were destroyed, or not even created” while victims’ rights “were effectively trampled underfoot,” NBC News reported.
“Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them,” he said. “The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with, but instead canceled or overridden.”
Opening the summit last Thursday, which the pope called after botching a sex abuse case last year in Chile that was known to have been a coverup, he told the nearly 200 leaders present it was time for action, The Associated Press reported.
“The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established,” Francis said.