Pope Francis is making it a priority to bury priests who sexually abused children, a new report shows.
The Pope has been accused of protecting pedophiles at the Vatican, and his Vatican-appointed committee on child abuse has issued more than 150 orders to remove them from the priesthood in recent years.
The Vatican said Monday that it had been investigating more than 30 cases involving priests who have been accused or charged of sexually abusing children, and that some of them have already been removed from their positions.
The pope has ordered the removal of a priest, the Vatican said.
The report said the new pope would seek to protect the church against further accusations of abuse.
It said the Vatican’s “special protection” has been based on an understanding that no abuse will ever be tolerated, and no one can ever be absolved of their responsibility to protect children.
The pope has said that no church member, priest or lay person should be charged with the crime of “grave sexual abuse,” but that the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which has been amended to clarify the Church teachings on child sexual abuse, remains in effect.
In his address Monday, Francis said the Church has “a responsibility to make sure that, wherever possible, our priests, deacons and deaconesses are not involved in the sexual abuse of minors.”
The report says that some members of the Vatican commission that oversees the handling of abuse cases, which were established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, have been involved in handling sex abuse cases at the local level.
It says one of them, the Rev. Carlo Cifelli, was appointed by Francis to lead the commission.
Cifellis name has also been added to the list of the accused.
“The Church has always made clear that it will not tolerate pedophilia, and will always fight against the spread of these crimes,” said the report, which said the commission had been “pushing for a more inclusive approach to the protection of minors in the Church, including sexual abuse.”
The Vatican has been under intense scrutiny since a former Jesuit priest was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 2007.
The former priest, who was later released from prison, was accused of abusing two other boys in his care at a convent in Italy and at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rome.
The priest, Fr.
Federico Lombardi, is serving a 15-year sentence.