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Priests sex scandal: Pope Francis acknowledges crimes “with sorrow and shame”
Pope Francis, the Leader of the Catholic Church has acknowledged “with sorrow and shame”, the complicity of the church in the grand jury report on sexual abuse by over 300 catholic priests.
The Pennsylvania jury report which was released last week detailed the narratives of over 1000 “victims of sexual abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately 70 years”.
The victims – mainly boys, but there were girls – were molested, made to masturbate, raped (orally, vaginally, or anally), and manipulated with alcohol or pornography.
In his letter on Monday, addressed to “the people of God”, Pope Francis admitted that the Church did very little to protect the children entrusted to its care.
“The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored or silenced. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” part of the letter read.
“The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.”
Pope called for a solidarity that would condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person; a solidarity to fight all forms of corruption, especially Spiritual Corruption.
“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said.
To curb such acts in future, Pope Francis charged the church, in various parts of the world, to come up with necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and vulnerable adults. He also called for zero tolerance and accountability of people who perpetrate or cover-up crimes.
“We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future,” he said.
He charged the society to join the church, with fasting and prayers, in combatting all forms of abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.