Pope reaffirms ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual assault cases


The Catholic Church must treat cases of sexual assault with “zero tolerance” reaffirmed Pope Francis, who called them a “monstrosity”, according to excerpts from an interview with a Portuguese television channel.

” It’s very clear. It’s zero tolerance. A priest cannot continue to be a priest if he is an aggressor. He cannot because he is either sick or a criminal,” the pope said during the interview with TVI/CNN Portugal, excerpts of which were published on the channel’s website.

“It’s monstrous, because it destroys lives,” he added in this two-part interview which will be broadcast on Sunday and Monday evening.

Like France, an independent commission, whose work began at the beginning of the year, is responsible for investigating sexual assaults within the Church in Portugal, a country with a strong Catholic tradition.

This commission, created on the initiative of the Church, has already collected some 400 testimonies, of which 17 have been communicated to justice, recently indicated Pedro Stretch, the child psychiatrist who heads this working group whose conclusions must be presented at the end of the year.

“I do not deny abuse. A single abuse would already be monstrous,” admitted the pope in this interview on Portuguese television.

The pope also indicated that he intended to visit Portugal during the next World Youth Days, a global meeting of young Catholics which will take place from August 1 to 6, 2023.

“I’m thinking of going there. In any case, the pope will go,” he said.

Originally scheduled for August 2022, WYD had been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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