Pope to Meet Sex Abuse Victims, Declares 'Zero Tolerance'
Vatican abuse probe is looking at three bishops: Francis
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2014 7:17 PM CDT
Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference he held aboard the papal flight on his way back to Rome at the end of a three day trip to the Midle East, Monday, May 26, 2014   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis announced today he would meet soon with a group of sex abuse victims at the Vatican and declared "zero tolerance" for any member of the clergy who would violate a child. Francis also revealed that three bishops are currently under investigation by the Vatican for abuse-related reasons, though it wasn't clear if they were accused of committing abuse itself or of having covered it up. "There are no privileges," he told reporters en route back to Rome from Jerusalem.

The meeting with a half-dozen victims will mark the first such encounter for the pope, who has been criticized by victims for not expressing personal solidarity with them when he has reached out to other people who suffer. Francis said the meeting and a Mass at the Vatican hotel where he lives would take place early next month. "On this issue we must go forward, forward. Zero tolerance," Francis said, calling abuse of children an "ugly" crime that betrays God. Francis spoke to reporters for nearly an hour after his grueling, three-day trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel, taking all 11 questions posed and responding with candor and occasional humor. Click for more on the story.