February 5, 2015 8:21 AM EST

Pope Francis has ordered bishops worldwide to cooperate with a commission he set up to protect children from sexual abuse by clerics.

“Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children … priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors,” he said in a letter to bishops and heads of religious institutions, according to Reuters.

Pope Francis met with victims of abuse last year. The new commission is made up of 17 people, clerics and citizens alike, who will work to prevent abuse and to help victims. Two members of the commission were themselves sexually assaulted by clergy.

“Everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused,” Pope Francis said in the letter.

The Pope is hosting his second Google hangout Thursday morning to talk to kids with special needs.


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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

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