Members of Pope Francis' sex abuse commission have criticized his remarks that it's OK for parents to spank their children, saying there is no place for physical discipline and that the panel would make recommendations to him about protecting kids from corporal punishment.

The commission met with its full 17 members for the first time this week and announced progress Saturday on drafting policies to hold bishops accountable when they cover up for pedophile priests. It will also be organizing seminars for Vatican officials and newly minted bishops on protecting children.

But they got an unexpected and urgent new task when Francis told a weekly general audience that it was permissible for parents to spank their children if their dignity was respected.

Member Peter Saunders said: "You don't hit kids."