Another moral failure for Pope Francis: Victims of clergy sexual abuse are urging Pope Francis to stop protecting pedophile priests from criminal prosecution by civilian courts.
Victims of pedophile priests from the United States, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other nations joined forces Monday to urge Pope Francis to allow civilian courts to punish sexually abusive priests and those who covered up their crimes.
Yesterday victims issued a public statement in Mexico City condemning Pope Francis for hypocrisy when it comes to punishing clergy sexual abuse and those who enable and cover up the crimes of pedophile priests, noting:
We find not only ambiguities, but obvious contradictions between your actions and your pledge that you would not tolerate pedophilia and take all the steps necessary to end this calamity in the Church.
The statement declared that only civilian trials will put an end to the “great holocaust of thousands of boys and girls who were sacrificed to avoid scandal and salvage the image and prestige of the Catholic Church’s representatives in the world.”
The victims said the pope’s recent admonishments of sex abuse in the Church are “ambiguous and contradictory” because they do not lead to any “institutional process toward truth and justice.”
The statement was read by Jose Barba at a press conference in Mexico City on Monday, Feb. 16. Barba is one of the victims of Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ order who died in 2008.
In the statement, victims told the Argentine pontiff that “words are not enough.”
In early February, Francis sent a letter to the church’s bishops and other high-ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy calling for a zero-tolerance policy towards child sex abuse as well as those who cover up incidents.
However, the group of outspoken victims say the Pope’s much publicized announcement calling for a zero-tolerance policy towards child sex abuse is only a superficial public relations move that does nothing to bring justice to the victims or punish the criminals. Indeed, victims point to recent Papal appointments of priests and cardinals who have been accused of covering up serious cases of child abuse as proof that Francis has no real commitment to the problem beyond public perception.
The victims argue that the Church continues to seek ways to avoid negative attention that may harm its prestige. They say that turning a blind eye has done much more harm than good to the institution’s image.
Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said via video conference from the United States that Pope Francis should follow the recommendations of the United Nations, which said last year that the Church violated the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Last year, in a scathing report, the UN condemned Francis and the Catholic Church for protecting and enabling pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children
Lately, Pope Francis has been a big disappointment. Last week a clueless Francis told an audience at St. Peter’s Square that choosing not to have children is “selfish,” apparently forgetting that he is a celibate man without children.
Earlier this month, Francis endorsed corporeal punishment, a form of child abuse, making the perverse claim that parents hitting children is “beautiful” as long as the act of violence against a child is done with “dignity.”
Perhaps even more disturbing, last month, commenting on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Francis declared “one cannot make fun of faith” and that anyone who throws insults can expect a “punch,” offering a tacit justification for terror and violence in response to a cartoon making fun of religious superstition.
All the while Francis continues the Catholic Church’s reprehensible policy of protecting pedophile priests from criminal prosecution.
In short, despite the friendly facade, Pope Francis is a moral failure.