People who cover up clerical sexual abuse should be considered guilty, and God will judge priests who are unrepentant about committing such crimes, Pope Francis told journalists at the end of his U.S. tour.
Speaking aboard the papal plane from Philadelphia to Rome, where the pontiff arrived on the morning of Sept. 28, Francis said clerical abuse is “nearly a sacrilege” and the Catholic Church must take a tough line.
“For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, it is a terrible thing,” the pope said, quoted by Vatican Radio.