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Published On: Tue, May 27th, 2014

Pope Francis will meet with sex abuse victims, declaring ‘zero tolerance’ as bishops are investigated

Pope Francis I announced Monday that he would hold a meeting at the Vatican with a group of sex abuse victims. The Pope then declared a “zero tolerance” for any member of the clergy who would violate a child.

Pope Francis donkeyhotey“On this issue we must go forward, forward. Zero tolerance,” Francis said, calling abuse of children an “ugly” crime that betrays God.

Currently there are three bishops under investigation by Vatican officials for alleged sexual abuse crimes, he then said. “There are no privileges,” he told reporters en route back to Rome from Jerusalem.

The AP coverage notes that “The meeting with a half-dozen victims will mark the first such encounter for the pope, who has been criticized by victims for not expressing personal solidarity with them when he has reached out to other people who suffer.”

Scheduled for sometime next month, the details are not final, the Pope said before discussing the possibility of retiring as Pope Benedict XVI did before him.

“We need to look at him as an institution: he opened a door, the door of emeritus popes,” Francis said. “Only God knows if there will be others, but the door is open.”

If and when the time comes, he said, “I will do what the Lord tells me to do, pray and try to find God’s will. But I think that Benedict XVI wasn’t a unique case.”

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