Pope says he meets ‘regularly’ with abuse victims
February 15, 2018
Pope Francis has said that he meets “regularly” with victims of sexual abuse by priests.
The Pope made that revelation during his January trip to South America, in conversation with Jesuits from Chile and Peru. A transcript of the Pope’s comments was released on February 15 by Father Anthony Spadaro, a close papal adviser.
On this visit to Chile, during which he faced intense criticism for his handling of sex-abuse issues, the Vatican announced that the Pontiff had met with a group of victims. But in his meetings with Jesuits, the Pope said that such meetings have been a regular practice for him. He said that the meetings usually take place on Fridays, a day he has dedicated to works of mercy.
Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican press office, issued a statement on February 15 confirming that the Pope has been meeting “several times a month” with abuse victims. “The encounters take place in the utmost privacy,” he said, “out of respect for the victims and their suffering.”
In his discussion with South American Jesuits, Pope Francis also said that he does not pay attention to critics who charge him with heresy. The Pontiff said that he is open to debate, “but some resistance comes from people who believe they posses the true doctrine and accuse you of being a heretic.” This resistance, he said, is really a resistance to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Regarding his fiercest critics, he said that he did not read their arguments “for the sake of my psychological well-being.” He added: “When I cannot see spiritual goodness in what these people say or write, I simply pray for them.”
Speaking specifically about criticism of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope observed that the bulk of the criticism has centered on the question of whether divorced-and-remarried Catholics should receive the Eucharist. “But Amoris Laetitia goes in a completely different direction,” he argued; “it does not enter into these distinctions but poses the issue of discernment.”
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- Pope Francis reveals he meets with victims of sex abuse on Fridays (Crux)
- Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke (Vatican press office)
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