Pope Francis on clerical sexual abuse


This 15 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse tell their stories

Survivors of sexual abuse by members of the Roman Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania tell their stories in this video created by the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General. The AG’s office recently released the results of a grand jury report investigating the sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Priests who have abused children sexually must report to the police. Pope Francis said that in his Christmas speech to the Curia, the bureaucratic apparatus of the Catholic Church. Never before has a pope made such a statement.

Usually, sexually abusive priests, like other perpetrators, don’t go to the police themselves, accusing themselves. Usually, police get to know about abuse because either abuse survivors or other people who know about it tell them.

Often, clerical child abuse survivors don’t go to the police; eg, because their pious Roman Catholic parents tell them the perpetrator is a ‘man of God’. Or because perpetrators, like sexually abusive Dutch Bishop Gijsen did, say to children that if they would tell about the abuse, then they would burn in hell forever after dying.

Other people knowing about clerical sexual abuse also don’t always go to the police. If a simple parish priest knows that his bishop abuses children, will he go to the police then? Maybe he is afraid that the bishop, his boss, will punish him. If some monk commits child abuse, will another monk then denounce him to the police? Will his abbot, his bishop, his archbishop, a cardinal, do so? Or won’t they, as they don’t want scandals and bad public relations for the Roman Catholic Church; so, they will cover things up?

The NOS report on the pope’s speech does not say whether Francis I said that not only child abusers, but also clergy who know about the crimes should report the perpetrators to police. That would cause many more police investigations than if one depends on criminals feeling remorse.

The pope devoted his entire speech to sexual abuse and the covering up of it. Abuse will never be covered up again, he said. Francis admitted that this had happened in the past and said that the church has failed. Victims of rape and other abuse were structurally silenced and perpetrators were protected.

Atrocities

“The church will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to justice,” he said in the speech. With his appeal to abusers to give themselves up, according to correspondent Andrea Vreede, he meant secular justice and not the ecclesiastical court system.

“He has strongly condemned abuse before,” said Vreede on NPO Radio 1. “But new is that he refers to the judiciary.”

The pope has little choice. For years the Catholic Church has been plagued by abuse cases, also in the Netherlands. This year a large number of scandals came to light in, eg, the United States, Australia, Chile and Germany. …

In February there will be a big meeting in Rome, where the more than one hundred most important bishops will talk about abuse. “It will be about the protection of minors, responsibility, transparency and accountability”, says Vreede. “The latter is tricky, because does that mean that those involved in covering up abuse will also be punished? We do not know that yet.”

3 thoughts on “Pope Francis on clerical sexual abuse

  1. Pingback: United States Southern Baptist church sexual abuse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Clerical sexual abuse survivor disappointed in church | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Child abuse survivor on Catholic mandatory celibacy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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