Pope’s Speech to Sexual Abuse Victims is not Promising

Martin Schulz is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Martin Schulz is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Some are saying the statements Pope Francis made are insulting to victims of child sexual abuse.

However, the statements the Pope made resulted more in disappointment than hope and faith. In a statement, the Pope said that he was “conscious of the courage” with which the priests and bishops had faced trying moments in the history of the Church in the U.S. and conducting themselves “without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.” The Pope’s words seemed to have rattled some painful emotions among some of the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse by priests, educators, and family members.

Pope Francis’ take on Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis had recently set up a commission on sexual abuse that is comprised of victims, clergy, bishops, and lay experts who have offered various suggestions to the Vatican to address problems regarding this issue. The commission has also proposed to the Pope to take action against the bishops who cover up such cases of sexual abuse making minors more susceptible to possible harm.

Pope’s Speech to Sexual Abuse Victims is not Promising[/tweetthis]

Expectations of Pope’s Speech

Given this background and the Pope’s popularity as someone who directs his attention toward the common man and their real-life problems, sentiments of exceptional support to abuse victims was very high. The Pope, on his visit, met five victims, three women and two men, who had suffered abuse as minors. The Pope spoke to them both in group and individually, listened to their testimonies, and prayed with them. In his speech, Francis also said the people who were given the responsibility of taking care of these children instead violated their trust and caused them pain. The ones who survived this ordeal have become “true heralds of mercy”.

Francis’ speech met with a response of genuine disappointment and shock, especially by some of the victims and survivors themselves, who found the Pope’s words about the “courage” and “commitment” of the U.S. Catholics hurtful and insulting.

Kenneth M. O’Renick, now 72, was abused by a priest when he was just 6-years-old. He felt the Pope’s remarks were empty promises and have not improved his perception of how the Catholic Church is handling the situation.

“He has not even come close to what needs to be done, in my opinion,” he said. “I hope that it gets better, but I’m certainly not as hopeful as I was.”


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