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Pope vows to take action against sexual abusers and protectors

Pope Francis said the fate of abused children weighed on his soul

SEXUAL abuse of children by Catholic priests has been branded a "monstrosity" by Pope Francis.

The Pope has vowed to crack down on abusers and the bishops who protect them.

He made his comments in the foreword of a new book titled Father, I Forgive You: Abused But Not Broken. It was written by Swiss man Daniel Pittet, who was first abused by a priest when aged eight years old.

Thousands of cases of abuse have come to light around the world in recent years as investigations have encouraged long-silent victims to go public.

In Ireland, a 10-year inquiry into abuse within the Catholic Church and church-run institutions concluded in 2009. It documented thousands of cases.

In the foreword, Pope Francis said the fate of abused children weighed on his soul, especially those who had taken their own lives.

Sexual abuse, he said, was "an absolute monstrosity, a terrible sin that contradicts everything that the Church teaches".

"We will counter those priests who betrayed their calling with the most strenuous measures. This also applies to the bishops and cardinals who protected these priests – as happened repeatedly in the past," he wrote.

This week, Australia's most powerful investigative authority recommended that priests who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse should face criminal charges, even if they learn of abuse during a confidential confession.

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