The reports of 300 cases of pedophilia involving priests reviewed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, United States, have led Pope Francis to implement a common protocol of action, so that “churchmen” feel themselves the suffering of victims of abuse.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Supreme Pontiff born in Argentina, wishes that the survivors of clerical abuse were considered in a “concrete way” as a “priority in the minds of all” within the Church.
With moral tenacity Pope Francis called up, between February 21 and 24, the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the world to participate in an unprecedented summit, in which they will deal with cases of sexual abuse within the Church, and asked them to visit “personally” the victims beforehand.
The 114 episcopal conferences spread around the world, have received a letter from his Holiness, in which the prelate explains to the bishops that the objective of visiting the victims is to learn “at first hand the suffering they have experienced”.
For the Vatican leader, those personal meetings would be a “concrete way” to reaffirm that the survivors of clerical abuse will be, during the February meeting, “priority in the minds of all”
The main objective of these papal decisions is that “the complicit silence” of the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy “ should not be reproduced” in cases of sexual abuse or crimes of any kind.
During 2018, reports such as the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, United States, which showed that more than 300 priests abused children during the last seven decades “with the tolerant eye of the Vatican,” or the case of the German Catholic Church, which documented 3, 677 events of children sexual abuse between 1946 and 2014, precipitated that papal decision.
Amid the institutional handlings of the problem, Pope Francis has also been a victim. During his visit to Chile and perhaps overwhelmed by the tone of the pedophilia scandal, the top Catholic leader defended Bishop Juan Barros, accused by a group of victims of covering up the sexual abuse of priest Fernando Karadima.
The Pope mended his mistake a few days later. He received three of the Karadima´s victims in the Vatican and opened an investigation that ended up in the group resignation of the Andean country Episcopal Conference members.
In August 2018, at the Families World Meeting of Families during his trip to Ireland, the Pontiff also considered the fight against pedophilia one of the key themes of his trip.
In addition, at the end of this year the Vatican formalized the departure of the circle of advisors who advise the Pope, Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and George Pell, who belonged to the Pope´s Council of Cardinal Advisers (C-9)
The first one is implicated in the denunciations cover-up of the Karadima victims; the second one was recently convicted by an Australian court for sexual abuse of two minors.
Translated by: José Espinoza