Pope Francis has declared an end to pedophilia and other such sexual abuse committed by priests in the Catholic Church, proclaiming that there will be no more tolerance for the sexual abuse of children. Although cases of sexual abuse in Catholic churches are not statistically as abundant as acts of pedophilia outside church, there is a reasonable expectation for safety because of the religious element. Whether it was sexual abuse or neglect, many children silently suffered for decades at the hands of church authorities without ever having a day of retribution. The number of victims grew to the point where there were enough of them to form an actual support group organization called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
The Pope has been making serious endeavors of reform to the Vatican’s approach to pedophilic cases. He formed the Commission for the Protection of Minors, which would advise him on ways to prevent and combat sexual abuse in the church. On SNAP’s list of advice for victims of abuse, the lengthiest piece of advice encourages survivors not to turn to the church for help. With one of the commission members being a victim of assault from a priest, the team would have first hand experience to educate them more on what these victims struggle with.
The Pope has already begun acting on criticism for failing to reach out to victims by scheduling time to sit with six of them early next month. Despite these efforts, the United Nations panel proclaims more should be done to reprimand priests for their crimes. Tragic cases of pedophiles in the Catholic Church continue to rise to the surface with the appalling truth that many of those cases were swept under the cloth. The offending priests were not reported to the proper civil authorities for legal justice, but were instead relocated to other dioceses where some managed to maintain contact with children and continue their abuse.
For a second time this year, the United Nations panel commented on the Vatican’s inadequate response to pedophiles, citing specific cases of clergymen Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul and Archbishop Josef Wesolowski. These men fled the country after sexually abusing young children. They are caught up in extradition complications that keep them from facing justice. The panel also complained that the Church’s $2.5 billion effort to provide compensation to pedophile victims was poorly distributed to the point where some did not receive any relief.
The Holy See could only respond with acknowledgment and a promise to move forward. While the explosion of media coverage on these cases have contributed to the decline of an estimate of over 100,000 victims in the United States alone, the Pope intends to instill stricter policies towards pedophilia. He declared the acts of evil done to these children will be met with stronger discipline, promising no more tolerance for the priests found guilty; they would immediately be reported to the authorities. Holding up to his promise, the Pope revealed that there are three bishops being investigated for their abuse or abetting the illegal cover up abuse.
By: Sophia Bien