Pope Francis made his strongest condemnation yet of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Friday, asking for forgiveness and pledging to impose penalties on "men of the church" who harm children.
"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests -- quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests -- to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the Pope said in remarks quoted by Vatican Radio.
"The church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed," Francis continued.
"On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children."
The U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it may be the first time a pope has spoken of sanctioning "complicit bishops."
"But that is all it is: talk," said Barbara Dorris, SNAP's outreach director.
"We beg the world's Catholics: Be impressed by deeds, not words. Until the Pope takes decisive action that protects kids, be skeptical and vigilant."
Read the rest here.
So ... the pope is asking for forgiveness for his church's sins. As a non-catholic who has in no direct way been touched by this long-standing scandal, my answer is simplicity and brevity itself: NO. There should be no forgiveness for these monsters, and the badly overdue correction, both for those who abused and those who hid and protected the abusers, should NOT be in the hands of the Vatican, but that of the local law enforcement authorities in those jurisdictions where the offenses occurred. In the United States, where crimes and perpetrators crossed state lines, Federal courts should be pressed into service to deal with those offenders.
These offenses aren't just the most recent, they are among the church's most heinous, and they demand proper adjudication, and NOT to be swept under the rug by a fox guarding the chicken coop.
Yes, it might be all lip service and no action, we shall see what his true priorities are.
Agreed. To this date, we've seen nothing but lip service from three separate pontiffs, a whole lot of talk and not much if anything by way of action. It is far past time this crap STOPPED and that civil authorities demanded action.
And if that means breaking down doors and putting men of the cloth in handcuffs, to be treated like criminals, so be it.
Fox guarding the chicken coop is an excellent analogy. The emotional damage done by these sick bastards is incalculable.
A crime, is a crime, is a crime. Treat every sexual abuse crime with charges, prosecution, a trial made up of victims of the crime (oops, that won't happen), and give jail time with no chance for release until and unless the sex-abuser has treatment.
Treatment doesn't work, sadly, unless the abuser wants to change how he/she responds to stimulation. Same with alcoholics and stopping smoking. At least, if they are involved in a treatment they can learn how to manage their feelings and desires. Repeat offenses don't get the option of more treatment. They lost their chance.
If a priest, religious leader, teacher, therapist, or someone that one should be able to trust, violates the law, there has to be severe consequences.
The voices of victims need to be heard by the abuser.
A criminal trial is only half the equation, Joan. It is past time that civil penalties were levied against the perpetrators, both the abusers and those who protected them and shuffled them from parish to parish. All trials should be well covered by local and national media as well.
To be candid, my hope would be that the final result would at minimum be the permanent alteration of the RC church in the eyes of the general public, if not its utter financial ruination. And still I have to wonder who has the cojones to tackle such a job.
Loren, I agree 100%. Exposure to fresh air is the best cleanser. Yes, financial consequences get attention and hurt. Our dear old RC buildings had to be sold to help pay for compensation to sex victims.
Talk is cheap! And what's worse, this is the basic doctrine of immorality on which Christianity is founded. I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests -- quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests -- to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children,. Vicarious redemption. The idea that offender can be forgiven by someone (or something) other than the victim, thereby ducking responsibility for his actions.
Hot news flash for you Frankie. Unless you personally raped a child yourself, you are in no position to ask for or be forgiven of anything - unless it's your complicity in the institutional cover up of these crimes. And if that's the case, then come out and say so. "Forgive me for covering this up." In the meantime, turn over the Vatican records to law enforcement, contrary to sandbagging them like the RCC did with the recent UN investigation.
It's not quite a not-pology, but close.
it seems that Frankie is apologizing for the priests, not for the church. And by saying
I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests...
he is playing the Jebus martyr card. I'm waiting for him to come out and apologize for the church and their role in protecting the priests.
That was my thought, Joe: that Frankie wants to play scapegoat. Sorry, I ain't havin' any...
I don't trust him. I don't think he's doing anything he doesn't feel he has to. He needs to take serious action before he asks for forgiveness. Trust in him is not the answer - Keeping the heat on him is.
Why! What is the point? How does that make anything any different? How does that flush away memories of being violated, and by a trusted person?
The victim forgives the assailant, rebukes god and spends eternity in a burning hell, according to the sick sense of justice of fundamentalist religious.
Those who shelter the assailant, are they to be forgiven, too?
Oh, I know the drill:
a person assaults, the victim forgives the assailant;
a person assaults again and the victim forgives;
a person assaults and victim forgives;
assault occurs and is forgiven.
Forgiveness is not the issue. Listening to the assaulted person, hearing the loss of trust and respect felt by the victim, facing the consequences of the perpetrator's crime, these are the things that need to happen. The voice of the victim confronting the assailant permits the victim to reclaim self respect and power.
The pope has no right to expect forgiveness for himself or his fawning assailant priests!