Pope Francis meets clergy sex abuse survivors for first time

Pope Francis has met victims of clergy sex abuse for the first time since being elected in March last year.

On July 7, at his residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Pope met three women and three men and he asked for forgiveness.

Two of the victims came from Ireland, two were from Great Britain and two were from Germany.

They stayed at the same guesthouse the Pope lives at and attended an early morning Mass.

The Pope met each one privately for a total of more than three hours.

During his homily, Pope Francis praised the survivors’ courage in speaking out about their abuse.

He said telling the truth was “was a service of love, since for us it shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church”.

He said child sex abuse by clergy is “more than despicable actions”.

“It is like a sacrilegious cult, because these boys and girls had been entrusted to the priestly charism in order to be brought to God. And those people sacrificed them to the idol of concupiscence,” the Pope said.

He asked for forgiveness “for the sins of omission on the part of the Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse”.

“Today, the heart of the Church looks into the eyes of Jesus in these boys and girls and wants to weep; she asks for the grace to weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left lifelong scars,” the Pope said.

He also expressed his “ love and sorrow” for families who had also suffered from the suicide of a victim.

The Pope also said bishops would be held accountable for protecting minors, but he did not spell out how.

A Vatican spokesman said the survivors were visibly moved by experience and had “felt listened to”.

He rejected claims from some groups that the encounter was a publicity stunt.

Irish survivor Marie Kane said after meeting the Pope that she believed he spoke from the heart.

But she warned the Catholic Church would “disappear” if it did not change.

Pope Benedict XVI met clergy sex abuse survivors in several countries.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,