Pope Francis poses with Kiribati's President Anote Tong during a private audience in the pontiff's library at the Vatican February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Medichini/Pool
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Pope Francis has sent Catholic clergy a powerful reminder of their duty to stamp out sexual abuse of children by priests, warning that they must never let a fear of scandal lead to cover-ups.In a strongly-worded letter to the heads of national bishops' conferences and religious orders, the pope demanded "close and complete" cooperation with a new child protection watchdog he has established at the Vatican.Francis's letter follows the announcement last month that 10 priests and two Catholic lay workers in the Spanish city of Granada have been charged with the sexual abuse of altar boys between 2004 and 2007 .It is the biggest case of its kind yet in Spain, where the Church has long been accused of exactly the kind of cover-up Francis alluded to.The Church must also embrace victims.Francis's public stance on paedophile priests has helped the Church undo some of the huge damage it suffered in the 1990s and 2000s as the scale of clerical abuse began to become apparent.
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