Pope Francis has insisted that paedophiles who abuse children must be severely punished.
Speaking to faithful in St Peter’s Square on Sunday after the Regina Coeli prayer, he greeted an Italian organisation dedicated to fighting child abuse.
Calling paedophilia a “tragedy,” Francis said, “We mustn’t tolerate abuses on minors,” before adding, “We must defend minors and severely punish the abusers.”
Meanwhile, Pope Francis also decried worsening violence amid the already “desperate” humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in the northern city of Aleppo.
Francis referred to last week’s attack on an Aleppo hospital saying that a “spiral of violence” is “reaping innocent victims, even among children, the sick and those who with great sacrifice are committed to helping their neighbours.”
Medical personnel were reported to be among the victims of that attack.
The Pope exhorted “all sides involved in the conflict to respect the cessation of hostilities and reinforce ongoing dialogue,” which he said was the only path that leads to peace.
The Pope also urged the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square to read a passage from the Gospel every day.
“Jesus is near us, among us, within us. His new presence in history takes place through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through whom you can establish a living relationship with Him, the Crucified and Risen One,” he added.