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Fighting abuse

What Pope Francis has done during his pontificate

In more than seven years as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has issued numerous new laws and guidelines for handling accusations of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up by church officials.

He also has insisted that church leaders must take the lead as true shepherds and guardians to protect the vulnerable out of love for the Gospel, truth and justice — not because of papal mandates or legal coercion. As such, tackling abuse and fostering healing require constant personal conversion, he has said.

The pope has also widened the scope of abuse to include not just sexual abuse but the abuse of power and of conscience and the corruption of authority when it is no longer lived as service but as the wielding of power.