Do everything possible so that similar, shameful tragedies will not be repeated.
Pope Francis made this appeal to bishops and religious superiors during his weekly Wednesday General Audience this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, following the release of a report about French clerical abuse yesterday.
After having continued his catechesis on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, focusing specifically on ‘Christian Freedom,’ Pope Francis reflected on the tragic findings.
“Yesterday, the Episcopal Conference and the Conferences of men and women religious in France received the Independent Commission’s report regarding sexual abuse in the Church which was commissioned to evaluate the extent of the phenomenon of sexual aggression and violence committed against minors since 1950 to the present,” Francis said, lamenting: “Unfortunately, a considerable number was revealed.”
A Moment of Shame
“To the victims,” he said, “I wish to express my sadness and my pain for the traumas they have endured and my shame, our shame, that for so long, the Church has been incapable of putting this at the center of its concerns, assuring them of my prayers.
“I pray, and let us all pray together: ‘To God the glory, to us, the shame’: this is a moment of shame.”
“I encourage the bishops and you, dear brothers who have come here to share this moment, I encourage the bishops and religious superiors to continue to do everything possible so that similar tragedies might not be repeated.”
Ensure the Church Is a Safe Home for All
The Holy Father went on to express his closeness and fatherly support to priests in France “in the face of this difficult trial,” but also “beneficial” for learning for the future.
He also invited the Catholics in France “to assume their responsibility to guarantee that the Church might be a safe home for everyone.”
“Thank you,” he said.