The Vatican is trying to reassure Catholics and the public that Pope Francis takes the clerical sex abuse crisis seriously in the wake of defensive comments Francis made last week, reports RNS/NCR.
In an interview published Wednesday with an Italian newspaper, Francis was asked about the scandal that has shaken the faith of many Catholics, and why he hasn’t fought back against criticisms of the church’s record.
Francis began by acknowledging that 'the cases of abuse are terrible because they leave very profound wounds,' but he then shifted to praise the policies on abuse instituted by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, while asserting that the Catholic Church has 'advanced a lot, perhaps more than anyone' in battling the sexual abuse of children.
'The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that moved with transparency and responsibility,' the pope continued, arguing that most abuse occurs in the home or other community environments. 'No one else did as much. And yet, the church is the only one being attacked.'
That prompted a torrent of criticism from victims advocates and others who noted that Francis did not apologise for the abuse, has not disciplined any bishops who covered up for abusers and has yet to meet with any abuse victims or name any members to a commission he promised to establish three months ago.