The Vatican says the devastating findings by Australia's Royal Commission into institutional sex abuse is "thorough" and deserves to be "studied seriously."

In its first comments on the inquiry released Friday, the Vatican said it was committed to helping Australian victims of pedophile priests find healing and justice.

The Royal Commission recommended the Catholic Church lift its demand of clerical celibacy and that priests be prosecuted for failing to report abuse that they learn of in the confessional.

The Vatican didn't comment on those recommendations. But church officials have previously rejected any link between celibacy and abuse and reaffirmed the sanctity of the confessional.

The investigation, which covered abuse in state and religious institutions, concluded there were "catastrophic failures of leadership of Catholic Church authorities over many decades."