Pope insists paedophile criminals be 'severely' punished

2016-05-01 22:28
Pope Francis waves during the Regina Coeli prayer from his studio's window overlooking St Peter's Square. (Alessandra Tarantino, AP)

Pope Francis waves during the Regina Coeli prayer from his studio's window overlooking St Peter's Square. (Alessandra Tarantino, AP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis is insisting that paedophiles who abuse children be severely punished.

Speaking to faithful in St Peter's Square on Sunday, he greeted an Italian organisation dedicated to fighting child abuse.

Calling paedophilia a "tragedy", Francis said "we mustn't tolerate abuses on minors".

"We must defend minors and severely punish the abusers," he added. 

Francis didn't mention paedophile scandals in the Catholic church in which bishops systematically transferred paedophile priests around parishes instead of reporting them to police. Victims' groups have demanded Francis punish such bishops.

Italians were recently shocked by the death of a 6-year-old near Naples thrown from the roof of an eight-storey building after trying to resist her rapist. An autopsy showed she suffered chronic sexual abuse. Investigators suspect neighbours knew about the abuse, but didn't tell police.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican city  |  child abuse
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