Pope ‘profoundly sorry’ about sexual abuse, says bishops ‘will be held accountable’
September 28, 2015
At a meeting with sex-abuse victims at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pope Francis pledged that “clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.”
“Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered,” he said. “You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of souls. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.”
“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed,” he continued. “Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.”
“When the disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognized that He was the Risen Lord, they asked Jesus to stay with them,” Pope Francis concluded. “Like those disciples, I humbly beg you and all survivors of abuse to stay with us, to stay with the Church, and that together, as pilgrims on the journey of faith, we might find our way to the Father.”
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- Apostolic Journey of the Holy Father to Cuba, to the United States of America and Visit to the United Nations Headquarters (19-28 September 2015) (Holy See Press Office)
- Pope in Cuba and USA (Vatican Radio)
- Vatican YouTube coverage
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