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Pope urges bishops to show ‘zero tolerance’ for child abuse

Pope Francis: 'We join in the pain of the victims and weep for this sin' (AP)

Pope Francis has exhorted bishops worldwide to do what is needed to ensure that children aren’t sexually abused by clergy.

The Vatican on Monday released the text of a letter Francis sent to bishops about injustices to children such as slave labour, malnutrition and sexual exploitation, including abuse by priests.

In the letter, Francis decries the “sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power”.

Francis tells bishops to “adhere, clearly and faithfully, to ‘zero tolerance'” for sex abuse of minors.

The Pontiff himself has been criticised by some for not punishing bishops who covered up abuse by reassigning molesters to different parishes.

Francis asks bishops for “complete commitment” so such “atrocities” won’t re-occur.