So do people still think that this pope is such a nice guy now??
5 March 2014 Last updated at 16:40 GMT
Pope hits out at criticism of Church over sexual abuse
In a rare interview with an Italian newspaper, the Pope said “no-one else has done more” to root out paedophilia.
He said the Church had acted with transparency and responsibility, yet it was the only institution to have been attacked.
Last month, the UN strongly criticised the Vatican for failing to stamp out child abuse and for allowing cover-ups.
In his interview with Corriere della Sera published on Wednesday, Pope Francis said: “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility.
“No-one else has done more. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked.”
Catholic Church abuse scandals
- Germany – A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a decade
- United States – Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage
- Belgium – The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years
- Italy – The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile priests had been reported over 10 years
- Ireland – A report in 2009 found that sexual and psychological abuse was “endemic” in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century
The Pope, who will celebrate his first anniversary of his election later this month, also praised his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, for changing the Church’s attitude towards predatory priests, saying he had been “very courageous”.
He also questioned the focus of the debate, saying: “The statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also clearly show that the great majority of abuses are carried out in family or neighbourhood environments.”
A UN report into the abuse scandals published last month called on the Pope to “immediately remove” all clergy who were known or suspected child abusers.
It also accused the Vatican of systematically placing the “preservation of the reputation of the Church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims” – something it has strenuously denied.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who had “concealed their crimes” so that they could be held accountable by the authorities.
Pope Francis has set up a commission to investigate sex crimes committed by priests and to care for victims, but so far he has made very few public comments about the scandals that have rocked the Church in recent years.