POPE FRANCIS has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse by admitting that the Catholic Church had ‘abandoned’ children.
In a letter addressed to ‘the whole People of God’, he writes: “If ‘one member suffers, all suffer together with it’. These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons.”
His letter came after the report of an inquiry into abuse in Pennsylvania that detailed the experiences of at least 1,000 survivorsof sexual abuseat the hands of priests over a period of approximately 70 years.
“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 ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults,” he wrote.
“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”