“Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priest sex abuse” & related article

Share Button

CTV News

Published Friday, April 11, 2014 10:01AM EDT

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, Vatican CityPope Francis touches his forehead after delivering his message during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. (AP / Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis asked for forgiveness Friday from people who were sexually abused by priests, and vowed that there will be no going back in the church’s fight to protect children.

Francis made the off-the-cuff remarks after coming under criticism from victims’ advocacy groups for a perceived lack of attention to the problem and ongoing demands that he sanction bishops who covered up for pedophiles.

In his remarks to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, a French Catholic network of organizations that protects children’s rights, Francis said he felt “called to take it upon myself” and “ask forgiveness” for the evil that some priests had committed against children.

“The church is aware of this damage,” he was quoted as saying by Vatican Radio. “We don’t want to take a step back in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I think we must be even stronger! You don’t play around with the lives of children.”

Last month, Francis named the initial members of a commission to advise him on best practices to combat sexual abuse in the church. Half of them are women and one was assaulted by a priest as a child.

The Vatican has said the members will draft the statutes of the commission and would look into the legal “duties and responsibilities” of church personnel, a suggestion that they might take up the critical question of disciplining complicit bishops. Church law provides for sanctions if a bishop is negligent in carrying out his duties, but to date no bishop has been disciplined for protecting an abuser.

Francis named the commission members after coming under fire for taking no action since the commission itself was announced in December. Victims groups also have been irked that he hasn’t met with survivors and recently told a newspaper that the church had been unfairly attacked for its abuse record.


Pope apologizes for clerical sex abuse, promises tough sanctions

The National Catholic Reporter

11 April 2014

Vatican City — “I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil some priests — large in number, but not in proportion to the total — have committed and to ask forgiveness for the damage they’ve done with the sexual abuse of children,” Pope Francis said.

“The church is aware of this damage” and is committed to strengthening child protection programs and punishing offenders, he told members of the International Catholic Child Bureau during a meeting Friday at the Vatican.

The remarks appeared to be the pope’s first apology for the sex abuse scandal, following earlier statements affirming the Vatican’s work investigating and punishing perpetrators, and encouraging bishops to support abuse victims. The pope also has said the church deserves to be forced to make monetary settlements to victims.In December, Pope Francis established a Vatican commission to promote improved child protections policies throughout the church.

Meeting with leaders of the International Catholic Child Bureau, an organization based in France and dedicated to defending children’s rights, Pope Francis said it was hard to believe “men of the church” would commit such horrors.

“We don’t want to take a step backward in dealing with this problem and with the sanctions that must be imposed,” the pope said. “On the contrary, I believe we must be very strong. You don’t play with children’s lives!”

Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of defending children’s right “to grow in a family with a mother and father able to create a healthy environment for their growth and affective maturity,” which includes “maturing in relationship to the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother.”

Parents have a right to determine the appropriate “moral and religious education” of their children, he said, and should not be subject to school curriculums that are thinly veiled courses of indoctrination into whatever ideology is strongest at the moment.

The pope said he wonders sometimes whether parents are “sending a child to school or to a re-education camp” like those run by dictatorial governments.

Obviously, he said, children need help in responding to the problems and challenges contemporary culture and the media raise. Young people can’t be kept in “glass jars,” but must be given the values that will help them evaluate what cultural trends respect their dignity and freedom and the dignity and freedom of others.


16 Responses to “Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priest sex abuse” & related article

  1. Sylvia says:

    I’m not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, but must admit that I read the above two other very old sayings come to mind:

    “The proof is in the pudding” and

    “Actions speak louder in words”

    Time alone will tell.

  2. Leona says:

    I’m wondering where the “gift” is in this apology, Sylvia. This seems like more a self-serving P.R. moment than a genuine quest for forgiveness. Like I say to kids, is that your lips talking, or your heart talking? Forgiveness doesn’t give you a pass on making concrete changes that truly protect children today and help victims to heal.
    As someone who regularly receives calls from victims of clergy abuse reaching out for support, I know that the church is not doing enough! As a public figure, he has the ability to take concrete steps that will safeguard children and help victims heal. While he asks for forgiveness what is he happening to those victims who continue to live in the silence and shame of their abuse?

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    I would remind his holiness that it’s not just the priests who are doing the evil. He repeatedly refers to the “evil done by priests”.
    He makes absolutely NO mention of the enabling bishops and cardinals who have had FUL:L knowledge of the evils done down through the years, and in most cases did absolutely nothing except try to sweep it under the rug (to protect the reputation of the holy church!)
    A perfect example of this is found in bishop J. R. Windle’s letter to the papal nuncio in Ottawa, back in the 1990’s. The knew all about monsignor Bernard Prince, and did NOTHING.
    Come on Frankie, man up! Mike.

  4. PJ says:

    Empty words…nothing more. If that church was sincere about this they would get rid of the pervert collars and those hiding them, stop and settle all lawsuits, and then people would believe their apologies. As long as they continue the deny, defend, and denigrate pattern of responses, they should not be believed. Like the old saying goes, how can you tell when a politician is lying…their lips move. So it is with these collars…all lies and no sincerity when they speak.

  5. JG" says:

    I am not surprised that this is “almost” an apology…I quote from above:

    “I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil some priests — large in number, but not in proportion to the total…”

    Once again, and right up to the Pope, they find a way to slip in that excuse that is summarized by one short little word: the forever present little “BUT” , the ever present excuse to minimize what has been damaged BY all within the church. There were the abusers, the enablers, the protectors, those who looked the other way…not only in recent years BUT for generations past!
    Leave out the “BUT” that leaves the apology, the call for Forgiveness meaningless!
    Anyone who would say: “I was drunk and driving BUT my passenger was sober…” or “I stole from the cash register BUT I was owed some money…” or “Yes! I bought those stolen goods BUT I didn’t know they were yours…” Would that make any difference or attract any sympathy? I don’t think so!
    Better yet if Christ had said: “Well! I’m supposed to go on the cross BUT I decided it might be too painful. Someone else will surely come along to take my place.”
    We went from “we were not the only ones doing it” and ” it was the fault of the times, the ’60’s and the ’70’s” to the “one church” being just made up of misguided individuals looking for excuses to save their own skin.
    This little “BUT” makes this voice from Rome just another one coming out of Babylon…
    The script is simply being adapted BUT the excuses remain.

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Right on the money, JG! Apologies cannot be qualified! Mike.

  7. Judy Hageman says:

    I am truly sickened, appalled, and outraged by Pope Francis’s rather lame April 11, 2014 public apology. Not only is it a vile insult to all Catholic and non-Catholic clergy abuse survivors worldwide but it is also icy cold comfort to them too.
    I must admit that I had gotten so incensed about the pope’s rather ridiculous apology that I had ended up writing and mailing assertive letters of protest on this subject to the Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith as well as to the Edmonton Catholic Auxiliary Bishop, Gregory Bittman. Heck, I was so annoyed that I had even written to the priest pastor of my neighbourhood’s Catholic church of St. Dominic Savio. Yep, I was on a real proverbial roll. I finally had even written an assertive letter of protest against the Pope’s apology to the Letters editor of the Edmonton Journal newspaper.

    I think that Pope Francis needs to back up his so called apology with real life,actual constructive action. He certainly needs to see to it that all guilty clergy abusers are turned over to secular legal authorities so that they are arrested, charged, prosecuted and ultimately punished to the full extent of the law. And, he needs to see to it that all legally obstructive high level clerics (and diocesan staff) who were wrongfully protecting and covering for the same vile clergy abusers, are also turned over to the same secular legal authorities so that they be fully arrested and ultimately punished to the full extent of the law. And, Pope Francis also needs to do everything in his power to protect and support all Catholic religious whistleblowers who have courageously stood up publicly and had consequently frequently sacrificed themselves on behalf of all clergy abuse victims. They are true genuine practitioners of Jesus Christ’s teachings on social justice. And, finally, most importantly above all else, Pope Francis must do everything in his power to see to it that all clergy abuse survivors and their horrifying, tormented abuse stories are treated with proper courtesy acknowledgment and respect by the whole church. And, he absolutely see to it that they also receive from the church proper, appropriate, tangible reparations for all the evil harm that had been perniciously done to them. Only after Pope Francis has actually carried out all of the above important, just actions will I then take his public apology seriously!

    • Lina says:

      Leona, Mike, PJ, JG, Judy and others. All GOOD valid comments!

      It was only weeks ago we heard or read that the Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No one has done more. And yet the Catholic Church is the only one that has been attacked.

      Talk about ‘why is everybody picking on us excuse’!

      Pope Francis has strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s record on tackling sexual abuse by priests. ‘Unbelievable and yet he did say that’.
      And now this short insert: “Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priest sex abuse”.

      This Pontiff knows how to use defensive and recycled rhetoric.

      Pope Francis idea of actions is by setting up another panel to figure out what went wrong and what to do, let’s not forget he’s still on track to proceed with Pope John Paul II move into sainthood.

      In our lifetime folks, this late John Paul II was in office when the coverup was in full swing.
      There is so much evidence that John Paul II was complicit in the cover-ups as well as so many others that includes the former Pope Benedict XVI.
      If this is Pope Francis idea of action to help the clergy abuse victims this goes to show you these victims count very little.

      I see the Roman Catholic Church as a political organization. Their main concern is to manage and protect that structure from within is much more important than anything related to faith or even holiness.

      Pope Francis is coming across as a media newest darling, we cannot let that well orchestrated public relation move sway us from forgetting the plight of victims even though the Vatican is using all kinds of deflection tactics to try and make so many people forget the criminal abuse cases worldwide crimes.


      • 1 abandoned sheep says:

        Lina, you see the Catholic Church as a political organization. Then attack it in the way you attack other political entities, municipal, Provincial or Federal about their deficits in meeting your approval.
        I am a Catholic, and happy to be one, I abhor some things that have harmed people in the Church.
        But, I will never condemn a Church Jesus Christ Ordained.

      • Miecul says:

        If they’re going to Canonise JP II they should also include Marcial Maciel. JP II knew what Marcal and the Legionaries of Christ were doing but turned a blind eye to this evil. Most have no idea what JP II stood for. This make a mockery of the saints and other holy men and women. Below is a short documentary. There was another documentary on Marcal, but it seems to have been removed from the web.


  8. Lina says:

    ‘1 abandoned sheep’ you are a Catholic and happy to be one.

    I’m not a Catholic and I’m happy not to be one.

    The days of looking away and defending the Catholic Church no matter what is over.

    I will always support the victims and all those who help them.

    I don’t trust Roman Catholic clergy. Especially priests in the Pembroke Diocese.

    Yes, I have walked away from the Catholic Church.

    All I can deal with at this present time in my life is Jesus and me not the Roman Catholic Church and its all male hierarchy.

    • 1 abandoned sheep says:

      You certainly do not seem to be very happy.

      • JG says:

        Please don’t go ballistic and force Sylvia to remove your post, but can you explain why you appear to derive some pleasure in knocking down Lina? I and other “regulars” understand(I think, my opinion!?…) you “Love” the church and want to defend it …and Lina is at the other end of the spectrum. But why the hurtful little digs, under the ribs, with much disrespect, always?? Frankly it embarrasses me every time…makes me feel terrible. Where is the generosity in this approach of yours?
        If you are a true “Christian” please take the time to look at yourself…It seems like you feel comfortable attacking Lina because you know her well enough to feel “superior”?!….
        I think you can defend your church without demolishing another one…
        Please ease my pain and explain or apologize to Lina. If you want your views respected or tolerated I think you should do the same.
        You can tell me it is none of my business but that is the easy way out.
        Why Lina?…from your “position”! I remember hearing that you could make a difference if you wanted to. Instead, what is it you are doing?
        Remember “generosity” is central to this “ordained” church …it is not just a slogan!
        And Please, don’t be too quick to condemn those who attack the church or anything/anyone else it has ripped apart….. Sometimes the apparent attacks are just a reflection of the pain that is felt and yet unexplained…
        You always hurt the ones or what you Love most…
        There is enough hurt in this world…dare to be humble and generous, even with those you perceive as “enemies”…
        There is no such thing. Just stubborn, too proud people…and Life is too short!


        • 1 abandoned sheep says:

          JG you may not know what I know about Lina and her family history. And you would not know that many of the posts appearing under her name are in fact written by her son who is Gay. If this site is about the Catholic Church and the abuses which certainly happened within it, It is definetly not about theDoctrine, Teachings or Faith of the Church, and the Billions who adhere to it.
          In that light, perhaps you will reread some of Lina s contributions and see if she is on the right site and topic.
          I do not expect acknowledgement of my Faith beliefs- , but, when you attack the Church, you attack us.

  9. JG says:

    “you may not know what I know about Lina and her family history”…

    You have explained everything as you see it and confirmed what I suspected.
    I have nothing to change or add.
    Generosity is not about being right.

  10. Sylvia says:

    And on that note I will close this thread.

Comments are closed.