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Pope apologizes to sex abuse victims, defends accused Chilean bishop

January 22nd, 2018 Posted in Vatican News Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PERU — Pope Francis apologized to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying he unknowingly wounded them by the way he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse by his mentor.

Speaking with journalists on his flight to Rome from Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, the pope said he only realized later that his words erroneously implied that victims’ accusations are credible only with concrete proof.

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Pope meets with survivors of clergy sex abuse in Chile

January 22nd, 2018 Posted in International News Tags: ,

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SANTIAGO, Chile — Pope Francis met in private Jan. 16 with survivors of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy, a Vatican spokesman said, but his actions threatened to be overshadowed by controversy over a Chilean bishop.

Greg Burke, the spokesman, said the pope met with “a small group of victims of sexual abuse by priests” at the apostolic nunciature in Santiago, Chile.

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Pope Francis prays for victims of sex abuse

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In his clearest public reference as pope to the subject of clerical sex abuse, Pope Francis urged bishops to support abuse victims while also reaching out to priests who have “fallen short of their commitments.”

The pope made his remarks Dec. 2 to bishops from the Netherlands making their first visits “ad limina apostolorum” (“to the threshold of the apostles”) since they met with Blessed John Paul II in 2004.

Speaking in French, the pope brought up sex abuse near the end of his talk, in a section devoted to bishops’ care of priests under their authority.

“Like fathers, find the necessary time to welcome (your priests) and listen to them, every time they ask. And do not forget to go out to meet those who do not approach you; some of them unfortunately have fallen short of their commitments. In particular, I want to express my compassion and assure my prayers to all victims of sexual abuse and their families; I ask you to continue to support them along their painful path of healing, undertaken with courage,” the pope said.

It was Pope Francis’ most explicit reference to clerical sex abuse, in public or in a statement released by the Vatican, since his election in March.

According to a 2011 report by a Dutch government commission, as many as 20,000 children may have been abused in the country’s Catholic institutions between 1945 and 1981.

In his remarks to the pope, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, president of the Dutch bishops’ conference, said the conference had established an independent foundation to assist victims.

“We are determined to recognize the problems of the victims, to compensate them for damages and help them to heal as much as possible,” the cardinal said.

Pope Francis also urged the bishops to promote church teaching on marriage and euthanasia through dialogue with the rest of society in the Netherlands, whose population is approximately 30 percent Catholic.

“In your society, strongly marked by secularization, I encourage you to be present in public debate, everywhere man is involved,” he said.

Pope Francis said the church “is sent everywhere to awaken, reawaken, sustain hope! Hence the importance of encouraging your faithful to seize occasions for dialogue, and be present in the places where the future is decided, so they can contribute to debates on the great social questions, for example, of family, marriage, the end of life.”

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2001, and permits physician-assisted suicide.

Cardinal Eijk told the pope that Catholics in the Netherlands have been steadily diminishing in number, and predicted that a “third of the Catholic churches in our country will be closed by 2020 and two thirds by 2025.”

 

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Pope defends efforts to deal with sex abuse with transparency

November 28th, 2011 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In a speech to U.S. bishops, Pope Benedict XVI defended the church’s “honest efforts” to confront the priestly sex abuse scandal with transparency, and said its actions could help the rest of society respond to the problem.

While the church is rightly held to high standards, all other institutions should be held to the same standards as they address the causes, extent and consequences of sexual abuse, which has become a “scourge” at every level of society, the pope said Nov. 26.

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Penn State crisis shows prevalence of sex abuse in society, experts say

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Catholic News Service

The child sexual abuse crisis at Penn State University brings into focus the harsh reality that the problem is pervasive in U.S. society, according to experts in the field and church officials.

Former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year span. Other college officials have been indicted for a failure to respond appropriately to reports that Sandusky was seen engaging in sexual behavior with children recruited through his connection with a children’s charity.

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Penn State scandal shows scope of sex abuse, official says

November 15th, 2011 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — The scandal rocking Penn State University shows both the scope of the sex abuse problem and the value of safe environment training, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said at a Nov. 14 news conference.

Responding to a question following the first session of the USCCB fall general assembly in Baltimore, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York said the news that has led to the indictment of several Penn State officials and the firing of the university’s president and its longtime football coach, Joe Paterno, “has reopened a wound in the church as well.”

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