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Pope defensive on sex abuse as commission lags

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Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.” In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn’t appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a “Superpope” who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope. Francis said: “The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.” In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn’t appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a “Superpope” who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope. Francis said: “The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

This image provided by Mondadori press office Tuesday, March 4, 2014 shows the cover of the new magazine ‘Il Mio Papa’, My Pope, titled “have the courage to be happy”. Pope Francis has scored plenty of magazine covers but now he’s got a magazine all to himself. The publishing house said Tuesday it is launching a new magazine entirely devoted to the weekly doings, sayings, gestures and activities of the 265th Successor of Peter. “My Pope,” at 50 cents ($0.70) a pop, hits newsstands Wednesday, and each week will include a free pull-out poster with one of Francis’ more memorable quotes from the previous seven days.(AP Photo/Mondadori press office, ho)

Pope Francis delivers his blessing at the end the weekly general audience he held in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.” In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn’t appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a “Superpope” who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope. Francis said: “The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis delivers his blessing at the end the weekly general audience he held in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.” In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn’t appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a “Superpope” who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope. Francis said: “The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis wears an Italian Alpine troops hat he was offered while touring St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican prior to the start of his weekly general audience, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.” In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn’t appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a “Superpope” who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope. Francis said: “The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is coming under increasing criticism that he simply doesn’t get it on sex abuse.

Three months after the Vatican announced a commission of experts to study best practices on protecting children, no action has been taken, no members appointed, no statute outlining the commission’s scope approved.

Francis hasn’t met with any victims, hasn’t moved to oust a bishop convicted in 2012 of failing to report a suspected abuser, and on Wednesday insisted that the church had been unfairly attacked on abuse, using the defensive rhetoric of the Vatican from a decade ago.

Victims’ advocates cried foul, saying his tone was archaic and urging Francis to show the same compassion he offers the sick, the poor and disabled to people who were raped by priests when they were children.

“Under Pope Francis the Vatican continues to deny its role in creating and maintaining a culture where upholding the reputation of the church is prioritized over the safety of children,” said Maeve Lewis, executive director of the Irish abuse support group One in Four.

To be sure, Francis adores children like a father — it’s on display every Wednesday during his general audience — and he has continued to defrock pedophile priests. But unlike Pope Benedict XVI, he has rarely spoken out about abuse, indicating it clearly has not been a priority in his first year as pope. Instead, he has focused on introducing the world to his merciful vision of the church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy.

In fact, Francis’ toughest words to date on abuse weren’t even pronounced. Francis reportedly scrapped his prepared Dec. 2 speech to bishops from the Netherlands, who have been dealing with revelations that some 20,000 children were sexually abused in Dutch Catholic institutions over the past 65 years. Instead, Francis spoke to the bishops

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