Pope Warns Predator Priests to Prepare for

The pontiff pledged that nothing of this sort would be repeated.

In his annual speech to the Curia, the central administration of the Vatican, Pope Francis urged predator priests to surrender and make themselves available for “divine justice.” The pontiff made a public promise on December 22 that the Vatican will never again dismiss or engage in a cover-up of sexual abuse cases. The speech comes after a fractious year of cover-ups and sexual misconduct which nearly capsized his papacy and resulted in the near destruction of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy.

Pope Francis admitted the Catholic Church hasn’t taken such grave issues lightly and blamed leaders who due to inexperience or shortsightedness acted in an irresponsible manner by staunchly refusing to believe the victims. The pontiff assured those in attendance that the church will never again dismiss or conceal any more incidences of such nature.

The message by Pope Francis comes at the end of a year which could only be described as painful to the church. The year began by Francis vociferously defending a bishop in Chile who was accused of actively covering up the actions of pedophile priests. The pope also dismissed the testimony of abuse survivors describing them as “slander.” The pontiff admitted his mistake only a few months later admitting he made “grave errors” when it came to managing the abuse crisis in the South American country.

To add a further nail to the Vatican’s reputation coffin, Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois, released a hard-hitting report which accused the Illinois Catholic Church of not releasing the names of 500 priests accused of abuse. Her preliminary report submitted the conclusion that the Catholic dioceses cannot be trusted to investigate themselves and the sexual abuse crisis besetting the clergy will not resolve by itself.

The pope has requested victims to make themselves known and thanked the secular media for giving the victims a voice. He also issued a tough warning to all abusers that they must surrender to their host country’s justice system. This is in line with Vatican guidelines which ask its bishops to report all priestly abusers to law enforcement in countries where the law requires them to do so. Victims have long claimed that the church has used this rule to side-step its moral obligation of protecting children. He prayed to God so he could discern true cases from the false ones. He admitted that it is a hard task to separate the guilty from the innocent as the criminal mind is skillful in covering up any evidence.

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