Pope Francis’s recent visit to Ireland and his plea for ‘forgiveness’ for the church’s appalling abuse of children left me astounded.

How could anyone, let alone the leader of the Roman Catholic church, imagine that all those victims whose lives were forever damaged could settle for anything less than justice?

Why would those accused of such crimes not face the full glare of publicity as so many others have done?

It’s dreadful enough that someone with so-called celebrity status should take advantage of a child, but for so many to be abused by the organisation they literally worshipped is unspeakable, yet Pope Francis asks the victims to simply forgive.

Not all those accused will be guilty, so why not give every single one of them the opportunity to state their case in a court of law?

The whole practice of publishing the names of accused sex offenders in the media is to give other victims the confidence to come forward.

Why has this not been extended to those within the church?

Let’s know who they are and see their photographs as other accused offenders have done.

Many of those abused were young vulnerable children who have lived the rest of their lives bedevilled by shame and betrayal.

These tortured souls demand justice, they need to see and hear what their abusers have to say.

They want to hear if there is any semblance of remorse directly from their abusers.

They want to know if their abusers understand the depth of their betrayal and the pain, shame and agony it has caused.

The Pope needs to act now.

In the name of God let the truth be made known to every victim in every town, in every city around the world.

Let all those involved face the full force of the law whoever and wherever they may be.

Then and only then can the Pope ask for forgiveness.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow