Pope Francis has called on the Church to “listen to the call” of survivors of clerical sexual abuse and said care of children must not be sidelined in favour of managing the Church’s reputation. Source: The Tablet.
The Pope made the comments in a video message to an international conference on safeguarding and the Church, that began in Warsaw, Poland, yesterday.
“Only by facing the truth of these cruel behaviours and humbly seeking the forgiveness of the victims and survivors, will the Church be able to find its way to be once again confidently considered a place of welcome and safety for those in need,” the Pope said.
“Our expressions of contrition must be converted into a concrete path of reform, both to prevent further abuse and to guarantee others the confidence that our efforts will lead to real and reliable change.”
Recognising mistakes and failures can “make us feel vulnerable and fragile, for sure”, he conceded. “But it can also be a time of splendid grace, a time of emptying, which opens up new horizons of love and mutual service. If we recognise our mistakes, we will have nothing to fear, because it will be the Lord himself who will have led us to that point.”
The international conference on the protection of vulnerable children and adults for the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe, organised by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Polish Bishops' Conference, continues until September 22.
In the video message, Pope Francis referred to his February address to the leaders of the Bishops’ Conferences of the world in Rome in February 2019, when he expressed his encouragement to ensure that the welfare of the victims was not sidelined in favour of a misunderstood concern for the reputation of the Church as an institution.
Pope says Church must face truth of cruelty to children (By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet)