Pope Francis met privately with victims of clergy and other sex abuse and pledged that all those responsible for the scandal would be held accountable. Speaking to bishops and seminarians, Francis described his private, unscheduled meeting with the sex abuse victims, three women and two men, whom he said “have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their value as they have had to suffer terrible abuse.”
The pope’s early Sunday meeting with the sex abuse victims at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary lasted about half an hour. He met with the victims one by one, listened to their experiences and prayed with them, according to the Vatican.
‘God weeps for the sexual abuse of children.’
The victims had all been abused as children, according to a statement released by the Vatican press office. They were abused by “priests, parents, teachers,” but officials declined to give specifics.
“He renewed his commitment and that of the church so that victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty are punished and that the crimes of abuse are fought with efficient prevention efforts in the church and society,” Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement. “The pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to establish the truth and begin the path of healing.”
In June, Francis sacked two US bishops accused of looking the other way: the archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, John Clayton Nienstedt, and his aide Lee Anthony Piche. And earlier this month the Vatican replaced Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who resigns in April after failing to report a priest accused of pedophilia.
Pope Francis is cleaning house. Here is his speech in its entirety.
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