Pope Meets Sex Abuse Victims, Bearing A Plea For Forgiveness

09.07.2014: npr

In his first meeting with victims of clerical sex abuse, Pope Francis asked forgiveness on behalf of the church.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:  At the Vatican today Pope Francis had his first meeting with victims of clergy. He vowed to hold bishops accountable for the protection of children. The meeting came nearly 16 months after Francis was elected. Victim support groups said it was long overdue. For more on this NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli joins us from Rome. Hello Sylvia.


SIEGEL: And I understand the Pope held a Mass with these victims, including a dramatic homily. What did he say?

POGGIOLI: Well, the Pope pronounced his strongest words yet on clerical sex abuse. He begged forgiveness from the victims and said, sex abuse of minors is more than a despicable action, it’s like a sacrilegious cult in the church that profaned God. He said, he realizes many have suffered unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair, and some have turned to drugs and resorted to suicide. And he vowed that he will not tolerate abusers and that bishops will be held accountable if they shield them.

SIEGEL: What do we know about the victims who were present with the Pope?

POGGIOLI: There were three men and three women – two each from Britain, Germany and Ireland. Names and ages were not revealed. The Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, the Pope met for about half an hour with each of them and listened very attentively to their stories. The six participants, he said, were very moved by the encounter. But one victim, 43-year-old Marie Cain, later told the Irish Times she told the pope that cover-ups continue and that he has the power to change things. Now interestingly there were no Americans present, even though the sex abuse scandals erupted first in the U.S. It may be that since American watch-dog groups have been among the most critical of the church, the Vatican may have selected a group of survivors more open to reconciliation and more likely to stay out of the media spotlight.

SIEGEL: Sylvia, many victims groups have criticized the Pope for being slow to speak out on the issue of sex abuse and he did anger many of those same groups when he said, in an interview in March, that the Catholic Church has done more than any other organization to root out pedophiles. So how are those groups reacting to today’s meeting?

POGGIOLI: Well, you know, most watch-dog groups won’t be satisfied until the Vatican definitively requires all bishops and religious superiors to report suspected cases of sex abuse of minors to civil authorities. And yet the director of bishopaccountability.org, Anne Barrett Doyle, said, that though over-due, the meeting was positive and the Pope’s homily recognized the terrible impact of abuse on victim’s families. She said, Francis made a significant and historic promise to discipline those who fail to respond adequately to child sexual abuse. But the spokesman for a German survivor group, Norbert Denef, called it a public relations event. Vatican spokesman father Lombardi said it was anything but a PR stunt. Weiter lesen…

3 Kommentare

  1. Prospero schreibt am :

    Der irische Missbrauchsüberlebende Mark Vincent Healy,Montag Teilnehmer beim Papsttreffen,hat gestern Abend auf tv3.ie ein 17minütiges Interview gegeben
    Hauptthema ua. die 6x höhere Suizidrate bei von sexualisierter klerikaler Gewalt Betroffenen und die Nichtunterstützung kirchlicherseits . Anhörenswert.

  2. Prospero schreibt am :

    Übrigens gibt es von Zollner SJ, der bei den deutschen Überlebenden in Rom den Dolmetscher gab, eine englischsprachige Beschreibung des Treffens:
    „….I can say the two meetings went quite differently, the first one didn’t talk much about her own experience of the abuse that happened many years ago. She tried to interact with the Holy Father who replied so there was a real dialogue going on in which she explained about her whole journey over decades, what she has suffered from the moment she was abused and, as she said, ‘her soul disappeared from her body’ and then the little steps that helped her come back to herself…….she said Holy Father, you have to do something to help perpetrators not to offend again…

    The second meeting went quite differently, the person talked and talked about the abuse and the misdealing of the diocese that handled the case 15 years after…..he didn’t find himself listened to or accepted – but that was his experience now when he was invited to come to Rome, to the centre of the Catholic Church, which really transformed him….this is also what we have to put on our priority list for the Commission, to ask bishops and superiors to meet victims and sit with them for as long as the Holy Father did…..there is nothing that is more important than an open ear and an open heart because this is the way in which reconciliation can start….“

    Den Rest mit der Expertise erspare ich Euch!

  3. hildegard schreibt am :

    Peinlich: da pokert der Papst mit echter Empathie, hört zu, weint und klagt mit Opfern. Er betet. Und fromme Untertanen beten.
    Was hat er zu bieten?

    Hat er einen Überlebenden gefragt: was brauchst du? Nein, er sitzt mit seiner Kurie auf vatikanischem Besitz. Verteilt Almosen.
    Hat er ein eigenes Konzept, wie er Bischöfe zur Rechenschaft zieht? Nein, da sind Hardliner im Kirchenrecht vor. Wie gehabt.

    In welchem Jahrhundert leben wir?

    Der Mann aus Nazareth hätte damals das gesamte Lügengebäude hochgehen lassen mit der Bemerkung „Euch kenne ich nicht“!
    Dieses match hat Papst F. bereits verloren …
    Da hilft nur noch austreten. Wegen Etikettenschwindel!

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