Pope Francis concluded a Vatican meeting on sexual abuse with strong words, yet has made no plans moving forward. Victims of sexual assault conducted by bishops and other members of the Catholic Church expressed being angry and upset on the little Pope Francis did. Bishops and those of the clergy who have been accused of sexual assault were called by their alleged victims to be barred from serving within the Church itself.
That was not the case, with Pope Francis choosing not to change Church laws but simply inform bishops and other church leaders in position of power to take action against those who have sexually abused parishioners and fellow Catholics and to protect those parishioners from a religious figure who seems to be taking advantage of a parishioner.
However, Pope Francis cited information that sexual abuse comes from many forms of society such as close and distant family members, spouses of child brides, teachers, and stated that online pornography and sex tourism have inflated the issue. This has stunned many people who have pressured Pope Francis to discuss sexual abuse within the Church. Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sex abuse cases told The Guardian, “He was defensive, rationalizing that abuse happens in all sectors of society. Ironically and sadly, he exhibited no responsibility, no accountability, and no transparency.”
While the core of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church having been focused on male clergy members molesting or assaulting young boys, spurring Pope Francis to state in the meeting that the clergy need to protect children “from ravenous wolves” and “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors,” Pope Francis did not touch upon the sexual abuse that nuns were subjected to by priests. Recently admitted by Pope Francis that it occurred, he called the sexual abuse conducted by priests to their fellow sisters akin to “sexual slavery” with one sisterhood dissolving due to being desecrated that much, and Pope Francis admitted that it most likely was still occurring. There has been a recent confession that a nun has sexually abused a minor female. The victim believed that there were other girls sexually abused by nuns. Pope Francis has not talked about this, or recognized this victim.
Pope Francis’ approach on sexual assault in the Catholic Church, specifically in small communities, is saddening and unacceptable. As Pope, he has power to change Church legislation, to bar pedophiles, and to better protect the Catholic community. With no change except harsh words and handing the responsibility to the religious leaders who have neglected their duty of protecting their communities, Pope Francis is condemning the young people in the Catholic Church to more abuse. He is turning a blind eye on the abuse between nuns and priests, and he is refusing to listen to the victims. God, help him.
Photo: EPA via The Independent