The two Irish women present, victims Marie Kane and Marie Collins, quickly pointed out that the cover-ups were as bad as as the actual crimes.
That is why Francis is treading on dangerous turf. There is hardly a serving senior figure in the Vatican, including the former pope Benedict, who has not been accused of a cover-up at some level on the issue.
Now comes Francis, who has never had such accusations made against him, poking around in very dark corners indeed.
His recent warning about the Mafia was meant as a shot across the bows of one of Italy’s most powerful evil forces.
But ranged behind him in the Vatican are men, and they are all men, who will consider any light shone on this subject to be of considerable negative import to them.
Francis has been mostly leading by example, living frugally, focusing on pastoral issues, revitalizing a church gone askew because of doctrinal insistences.
All that has been fine for the Vatican Curia, but you do not have to be a Dan Brown fan to wonder when the backlash begins.
Make no mistake – there are powerful forces who stand to lose much if too much attention is paid to the cover-up of pedophile priests.
Based on his comments yesterday that there is "no place in the Church's ministry for those who commit these abuses....I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not," Francis means business.
Remember Roberto Calvi, the Vatican banker who hung himself in London in 1982 when allegations of great corruption within the Vatican Bank emerged?
There are similar dark forces intent on cover-up within the Vatican today. Pope Francis has rattled them with this move. He needs to be very careful and to know what comes next. His real enemies are behind him, robed.