Vatican City: Pope Francis has called for "decisive action" in the fight against the sexual abuse of minors by priests and directed the Vatican watchdog on such cases to ensure the perpetrators were punished.
He told Bishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - the Vatican watchdog nsex abuse cases - to ensure the perpetrators were punished, BBC reported Friday.
It was the Argentinian pope`s first public statement on clerical sex abuse. He was elected last month, replacing Pope Emeritus Benedict, who became the first pope in 600 years to resign.
When first elected, Benedict XVI had promised to obviate his Church of the "filth" of clerical sex abuse. But critics accused him of covering up abuse and failing to protect children from paedophile priests.
Victims of sex abuse by clergy had called for a strong response from the new pontiff to the crisis which has rocked the Church.