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Pope Francis Pleads for Forgiveness From Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse


On July 6th, Pope Francis met with a small group of adult victims at the Vatican who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic clergy. He expressed deep regret and compared the crimes to that of a "sacrilegious cult." The Pope promised there would be no tolerance for any future incidents. The remarks were a welcome departure from the perceived silence that has disgusted many over the years.

Strong Words

The Pope made some of his strongest and most emotional remarks to date on the incident during the homily at a private mass for six European victims. He said he has felt in his heart "deep pain and suffering," and expressed sorrow for the crimes of the clergy and asked God for forgiveness. Pope Francis also acknowledged that many of the victims had endured "emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair" and some had started using drugs or even committed suicide as a result of the Catholic abuse. After delivering his homily, he met individually with each of the victims for 30 minutes.

Bishops Will Be Held Accountable

The Pope made it clear any bishop who shielded a member of the clergy who sexually abused or harmed a minor would be held accountable. He also said there was no place in the church for these types of abuses, and it is the duty of the bishops to "help foster the protection of minors." In recent years, many incidents of abuse have come to light in American, European and Asian dioceses. 824 clerics have been defrocked as a result of credible accusations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. $2.5 billion has been paid in reparations to victims by the Catholic Church in the United States alone.

The Catholic Church has been under fire with allegations of Catholic abuse for almost two decades. Pope Francis is doing his best to reach out to victims and their families in an effort to provide some comfort. However, there is still a great deal of grief and suffering that may be beyond the point of repair.

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