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Francis calls for “decisive action” in the fight against sex abuse of minors by priest

Saturday, April 6th 2013 - 03:55 UTC
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It was the Argentine Pope's first public statement on clerical sex abuse It was the Argentine Pope's first public statement on clerical sex abuse

Pope Francis has called for “decisive action” in the fight against sex abuse of minors by priests. He told Bishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - the Vatican watchdog that deals with sex abuse cases - to ensure that perpetrators were punished.

It was the Argentine Pope's first public statement on clerical sex abuse. Although in the first week of his papacy he had a bishop accused of abuse living in the Vatican removed.

A leading sex abuse survivors' group has responded with scepticism, saying “actions speak louder than words”.

The new Pope was elected last month, replacing Pope Benedict, who became the first pope in 600 years to resign.

When first elected, Benedict XVI promised to rid his Church of the “filth” of clerical sex abuse, but critics accused him of covering up abuse in the past and failing to protect children from paedophile priests.

Victims of sex abuse by clergy had called for a strong response from the new pontiff to the crisis that has rocked the Church.

In his remarks on Friday, Pope Francis said combating the crisis - which has mired the Church in scandal from the US, Ireland and Europe to Australia, was important for the credibility of the Church.

A Vatican statement said the Pope had urged Bishop Mueller to ”act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty”.

In 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith called on bishops' conferences around the world to submit guidelines for helping victims; protecting children; selecting and training priests and other Church workers; dealing with accused priests; and collaborating with local authorities.

Three-quarters of the 112 bishops' conferences have sent in such guidelines, with most of those yet to respond coming from Africa, the Vatican says.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) responded to the statement by calling for actions rather than words.

“We can't confuse words with actions,” SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris told the BBC. “When we do, we hurt kids.

”We must insist on new tangible action that helps vulnerable children protect their bodies, not old vague pledges that help a widely-discredited institution protect its reputation

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Elena

    Well done Pope Francisco “go and rebuild the church”

    Apr 06th, 2013 - 05:37 am 0
  • Shed-time

    “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”, Matthew 19:14, King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

    Kind of makes you wonder how the Catholic church is going to get into heaven with all the suffering they've been dealing out to those little children. Combined with all the corruption, when we all know it's harder for catholics like tony blair to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for him to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    I just don't see how any of these polytheistic idolators are going to get there.

    Apr 06th, 2013 - 09:39 am 0
  • Elena

    hey, you seem to be having a bad day, out with the sarcam :-) And no, we are not idolatric, we just enjoy having a heavenly family and I don´t think that is bad in anyway, I love my family here too, if that makes me be idolatric then idolatric I will be, and proud of it.

    About the Church yes, there have been terrible things done there, but also lovely and beautiful things too that talk about the wonders of God. The mere fact God has been so patient with we all human beings is a wonder in itself and a testimony of his love, he is capable of giving his live for each one of us sinners as we are, and I love him because of it.

    Apr 06th, 2013 - 10:57 am 0
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