A clergy sex-abuse victim criticized Pope Francis’s speech after he announced that he met with clergy sex-abuse victims on calling for those responsible for Philadelphia’s own scandal to be held accountable.
Becky Iianni, spokeswoman from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that she has heard the pope discuss sex-abuse before, but ‘what we really need is action’.
Francis spoke at St Martin’s Chapel in in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, on Sunday where he said that he owes victims of sexual abuse ‘gratitude for their great value’.
‘God weeps for the sexually abuse of children,’ he said during his address. ‘I commit to the zealous oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.’
Iianni claims that the new Vatican tribunal set up by Francis used to prosecute bishops who failed to protect their flock by covering up for pedophile priests rather than reporting them to police will not be effective.
‘I don’t believe that the process has been set up. Our issue is how long is it going to take to set up? How long is it going to take to see if it’s effective?’ Ianni said in an interview with CNN.
She added: ‘The pope could fire, demote or publicly denounce any bishop. He could do that without the process.
‘Do we need a commission to study something we’ve known about since the 1980s? I don’t think those steps are going to protect children.’
She said that believes that what will help abusers is posting the names of alleged abusers online for everyone to see. She also called for the pope to turn over records and documents about accused members of the clergy.
Iannia said she is, however, glad that the pope met with victims and spoke about sex abuse during his address of family.
‘I truly hope that those victims find healing but what about the rest of the victims? I think what needs – I know myself I need – to know that another child won’t go through what I went through as a child,’ she said.
Prior to his address of family, Pope Francis was greeted by seminarians as he walked through the chapel. He spoke of Philadelphia’s sex-abuse scandal and the importance of family.
The last grand jury accused the Philadelphia diocese in 2011 of keeping on assignment more than three dozen priests facing serious abuse accusations, despite a 2002 pledge by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to oust any guilty clergy.
The same grand jury indicted a priest who had overseen clergy for the archdiocese, Monsignor William Lynn.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former Archbishop of Philadelphia who retired in 2011 amid a scandal over clergy sex abuse, celebrated Mass with Francis on Saturday.
Francis has decided to create a new Vatican tribunal to prosecute bishops who failed to protect their flock by covering up for pedophile priests rather than reporting them to police.
‘In my heart there stories of suffering, of those youth who were sexually abused,’ the pope said. ‘And it continues to be on my mind that the people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain.’
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