Fresh from his trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis announced a renewed war against sex abuse, particularly of minors. He declared to media while aboard a plane returning to Rome that he has a zero tolerance for members of the clergy involved in child abuse scandals.
He disclosed that the Vatican is investigating three bishops on abuse-related charges, but the pontiff did not clarify if the bishops were the perpetrators or tried to cover it up.
As part of his zero tolerance policy, the pope has scheduled a meeting with half-dozen sex abuse victims, which would be a first for Pope Francis. The meeting, which would include a Mass, would be held in June at the Vatican dorm where the pontiff is staying.
Boston Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, who heads a commission the pope established to study ways of dealing with the problem, will attend the event.
In his toughest talk about sex abuse, Pope Francis was quoted by RTE.ie as saying, "Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime ... because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic mass."
However, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), belittled the meaning as "just utterly, utterly meaningless."
SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy, said, quoted by CBS News, "The simple truth is this is another gesture, another public relations coup, another nice bit of symbolism that will leave no child better off and bring no real reform to a continuing, scandal-ridden church hierarchy."