Pope meets victims of clergy sex abuse, says ‘God weeps’ for them

Yeah right, I’m sure God is weeping. Meanwhile, as God weeps, the boys are still violated. Nothing but empty words from popes; both Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI offer nothing but empty words; prayers and a weeping God – big freakin deal! How about doing something proactive Mr. Francis? TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters


PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pope Francis met on Sunday with five adults who were abused by Catholic clergy when they were children and vowed to hold responsible all involved in the crime or cover-ups.

While the pope has met with victims of sexual abuse in Rome, this was his first meeting with them on a foreign tour. Of the cities visited by Francis, who ends his six-day U.S. tour later in the day, Philadelphia has been the most publicly scarred in the U.S. clergy abuse scandal.

“I have in my heart these stories of suffering of those youth that were sexually abused,” Francis told bishops.

“The people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain. God weeps for the sexual abuse of children.”

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that at the morning meeting in Philadelphia’s seminary, the pope “expressed participation in their suffering and pain and shame.”

Reports that priests had sexually abused children and bishops had covered up their actions emerged in 2002, growing into a scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. and many other countries.

Victims’ groups say the Church has not done enough. As many as 100,000 U.S. children may have been the victims of clerical sex abuse, insurance experts said in a paper presented at a Vatican conference in 2012.

Francis spoke to his bishops before heading on to visit a group of inmates at a Pennsylvania prison and saying Mass for an expected crowd of 1.5 million people.

The first Latin American pope has focused his U.S. trip on immigration, urging Americans to lay aside any hostility to newcomers and addressing adoring crowds of Latino Catholics in his native Spanish.

That open-air Mass will take place under tight security. There is a heavy police presence around Philadelphia, with large stretches of downtown closed to vehicle traffic and pedestrians entering a 1.6 mile (2.6 km) corridor being subject to search.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church has met crowds at each step of his six-day visit, which included the first-ever papal address to Congress and a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, before his arrival in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been the subject of multiple damaging grand jury reports relating to the abuse scandal, which by the Church’s own estimate has involved 6,400 clergy credibly accused between 1950 and 2013 nationwide.

Some 12 U.S. dioceses have filed for bankruptcy in part due to hefty settlements – over $3 billion nationwide – paid out to victims.

The pope’s milder comments on the scandal earlier in the trip, when he did not utter the words “sexual abuse” and talked about the pain the Church had faced in managing the scandal, had angered victims.

Clergy sex abuse victims and their advocates welcomed his more direct approach on Sunday but expressed skepticism that they would lead to change.

“The significant aspect of his words today is that he promised that all responsible will be held accountable. Now the test of his resolve will be whether he follows through,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a private group that has tracked the clergy sex abuse scandal and its aftermath.

Quietly demoting bishops who have helped cover up clergy sex abuse is not enough, said Barrett Doyle.

Mark Rozzi, a Pennsylvania state legislator who was raped by his parish priest as a young teen, said he welcomed Francis’ change in tone.

“They were powerful words. Now we have to put those words into real action,” said Rozzi, who has introduced legislation that would make it easier for people who had been sexually abused as children to sue the Church, a move the bishops’ lobbying arm has strongly resisted.

“If they believe in this pope and believe in his mission, they need to get behind him and drive his home so victims can truly heal,” Rozzi said. “Words are meaningless unless action gets put into place.”

(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson and Laila Kearney; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Tom Heneghan)

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Am interested in science and philosophy as well as sports; cycling and tennis. Enjoy reading, writing, playing chess, collecting Spyderco knives and fountain pens.
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