Pope to priestly sex abusers: Turn yourselves in

Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is vowing that the Catholic Church will “never again” cover up clergy sex abuse and is demanding that priests who have raped and molested children turn themselves in.

Francis on Friday dedicated his annual Christmas speech to the Vatican bureaucracy to abuse, evidence that a year of devastating revelations has shaken his papacy and caused a crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy.

Francis acknowledged that the church in the past had failed to treat the problem seriously, but vowed that going forward, it would never cover up or dismiss cases again and would “spare no effort” to find justice for pedophiles.

He urged victims to come forward and issued a stark warning to abusers: “Convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.”

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