Editor’s Note: Though nothing can take away what those men did to these victims, Pope Francis is exemplary in facing the problem head on; instead of trying to sweep these problems under the rug. Hopefully these victims can find peace in their lives after such a traumatic event. The perpetrators deserve harsh punishment.
Pope Francis met Monday with six victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, acknowledging that the failure of church leaders to act led to greater suffering.
“Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness,” Francis said in a homily during Mass with the victims, according to a text of the statement provided by the Vatican.
“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” he said. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”
He said “sins of clerical sexual abuse against minors have a toxic effect on faith and hope in God.”
The six sex abuse victims — three men and three women from Britain, Ireland and Germany — each met privately with Francis for about 30 minutes, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters.
The meeting Monday took place at the Pope’s private residence, a Vatican guesthouse called the Casa Santa Marta. It was Francis’ first meeting with sex abuse victims since becoming pope.