(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 3 -

Clerical sex abuse of minors and cover-ups have seriously undermined the credibility of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said in a letter to US bishops on Thursday.

    "The credibility of the Church has been strongly called into question and debilitated by these sins and crimes, but especially by the desire to dissimulate and hide, which has generated a greater feeling of insecurity, mistrust and lack of protection in the faithful," he said.

    "The attitude of covering up, as we know, far from helping to resolve the conflicts, has allowed them to perpetuate themselves and to wound more deeply the fabric of relations which today we are called to treat and mend."

Francis said that the fight against abusement "demands a conversion in our minds", in the way "we pray, manage power and money, live authority, and relate between the world and ourselves".
    He aid "the fight against the culture of abuse, the wound of credibility, and the dismay, confusion and discredit in our mission demand, and demand from us, a new and decisive attitude to resolve the conflict".

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