Pope Francis wants 'decisive action' in sexual abuse cases

(Photo: Reuters / Stefano Rellandini)Pope Francis kisses a child during a weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican April 3, 2013.

Pope Francis has called on "decisive action" from the Catholic Chruch in sexual abuse cases which he said is vital for its  credibility.

It was the new Pope's first public statement on cases of clerical sex abuse, especially pedophilia,  and the failure to deal with them that has plagued the Church in some countries such as the Australia, Ireland and the United States.

Pope Francis became pontiff on March 13 after his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to step down voluntarily in 600 years.

The pontiff on Friday met Archbishop Gerhard Mueller who was appointed by Pope Benedict and who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is in charge of investigating sex crimes in the Church.

Vatican Radio released the details of the meeting in a statement saying, "The Holy Father recommended in particular that the Congregation, continue the line desired by Benedict XVI of decisive action regarding cases of sexual abuse, primarily by promoting measures for child protection."

The Pope called for a commitment by worldwide Catholic bishops "to formulate and implement the necessary guidelines in this area which is so important for the witness of the Church and for her credibility."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests was not impressed and said in a statement, "Big deal."

The network said, "It's tragic that Pope Francis is asking a top aide to stay on the irresponsible path charted by Pope Benedict."

SNAP said, "We must insist on new tangible action that helps vulnerable children protect their bodies, not old vague pledges that help a widely-discredited institution protect its reputation."

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