Friday, April 5, 2013

Pope Francis Remarks on Sexually Abusive Priests; Victim Backers View Remarks as "Empty Rhetoric"

Pope Francis today (April 5, 2013) called on the Catholic Church to take decisive action against sexually abusive priests, to bring offenders to justice, and to protect children, in his first remarks on an issue that dominated the papacy of his predecessor and is likely to loom large in his own reign, according to the Christian Science Monitor website.

But groups representing victims of clerical sex abuse dismissed his remarks as "empty rhetoric"  and called into question whether he was really determined to tackle the scandals head on.

"Kids won't be helped by a 'continuation' of the tiny symbolic gestures taken by Pope Benedict. Kids will be helped by decisive changes. Thus far, Pope Francis hasn't even discussed, much less adopted, even a single reform," says Barbara Dorris, from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The group said Pope Francis had already called into question his credibility on the clerical sex abuse issue within the first 24 hours of his papacy, when he met Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston, who resigned in disgrace amid allegations that he had covered up years of abuse by priests. Cardinal Law resigned as Boston's archbishop a decade ago and fled to Rome to avoid prosecution, after being accused in dozens of law suits of failing to protect children from predatory priests.

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