STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - Predator priests will face the full force of the law, Catholic bishops in the Pacific say.
In Papua New Guinea, Fr Giorgio Licini said any cases of priests abusing children will be dealt with severely and revealed that an office had been established to deal with the matter.
Meanwhile, the head of the church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, said his church had policy and protocols in place for suspected sexual offending among priests.
"That has been the stand of the church and each conference of bishops has been instructed that we need to put in a policy for sexual abuse," the archbishop said.
"We have a sexual abuse policy to see to it that, when somebody is a sexual offender, procedures are carried out so that this person is interrogated and taken to task."
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong and Fr Giorgio's comments come in the wake of global outrage over hundreds of cases of children abused by priests.
They welcomed Pope Francis' call for priests who sexually abuse children to turn themselves into the authorities.
Pope Francis has said that any "priest who abuses a child is a vicious wolf ready to devour innocent souls".
He has expressed his sorrow and asked for forgiveness, saying the church is aware of the damage and will continue to tackle the problem.
Fr Giorgio urged people in Papua New Guinea who know of any such abuse of children by priests, to report it.
"There is a lack of awareness and we have to improve how people can react and act properly to deal with these cases," he said.
"This is for the church to fix so we help the families and communities and make our country a better place to live."