ROME, April 5, 2013 ( – Pope Francis told the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday that Pope Benedict XVI’s “decisive action” against clerical sexual abuse must continue, according to a Vatican communiqué.

At a meeting this morning, the Pope asked Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who last July replaced US Cardinal William Levada as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to “continue the line desired by Benedict XVI of decisive action regarding cases of sexual abuse, primarily by promoting measures for child protection.

The Pope also urged the Congregation to offer “help for the many who in the past have suffered such violence” and to ensure “due process against those who are guilty.”


In the statement, issued this morning by Vatican Radio, he also called on Müller to continued to seek “the commitment of Bishops' Conferences in the formulation and implementation of the necessary directives in this area which is of great importance to the witness of the Church and its credibility.”

Archbishop Müller, before his appointment as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the head of the Regensburg diocese in Germany where he was widely depicted as a “hardline” conservative.

Speaking at the Vatican to the annual meeting of the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life earlier this year, Archbishop Müller focused on the Church's authentic teaching on sexuality in light of the modern misconceptions about sex.

“[T]he only response of the Church to modernity has to be one which is completely faithful to the teaching of the Magisterium, above all on matters of sexual morality because this is precisely where doctrine touches life,” said the archbishop. 

“Yes, we fight for peace and justice in the world, and at the same time we need to set forth persuasively the Church’s vision of life, love and sexuality, including the intrinsic immorality of abortion and contraception.”

The archbishop said that within the “stark simplicity” of the Church’s teachings on sexuality there is “tremendous power for liberation and happiness.” The only thing necessary is to “communicate to people the intrinsic meaning of sex within the Christian vision of love.”

The text of the communiqué, translated by Vatican Radio, issued this morning by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the Pope's meeting with Archbishop Müller is available here.