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US: Pope Francis mention of Church sex abuse disappoints US victims

25th Sep 2015
US: Pope Francis mention of Church sex abuse disappoints US victims

WASHINGTON (AA): Pope Francis on Tuesday indirectly mentioned the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in recent years, commending American Bishops’ efforts to deal with the problem.

“I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice,” he said.

The pope’s remarks at a mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington fell short for the victims of the abuse who were looking for more from the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics.

“We’re sad that Francis claims U.S. bishops have shown ‘courage’ in the abuse crisis,” said Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the most vocal advocacy group for abuse victims.

“They offer excuses, exploit legal technicalities and hide behind expensive lawyers and public relations professionals, hardly the marks of courage,” she added.

During his speech Francis said Church officials are working “to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated”.

But SNAP President Barbara Blaine called Francis’ assurances “disingenuous”, noting that sex abuse crimes are still occurring but the pope refuses to admit it.

The group accused the pope of rebuffing a UN panel that requested information on the scandal; parishioners who demanded Bishops be disciplined; and prosecutors who wanted to extradite a Polish archbishop for molesting children.

SNAP laid out a 20-step plan for the pope to take, including financing a whistle-blower fund within the Church, and taking measures to stop child and sex abuse.

The sex scandals that first emerged in mid 1980s have damaged more than 100,000 American victims, according to SNAP. Just four Bishops have resigned for related accusations.

Between 2004 and 2013, U.S. dioceses paid $1.7 billion in legal settlements and $379 million in legal fees related to the scandals, according to a report released last year by the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops.

Also Tuesday, Francis canonized 18th century Franciscan priest Junipero Serra who brought Catholicism to the West coast of the U.S.

Author: Kasım İleri
[Photo: Pope Francis gets red carpet treatment during his visit to UK. He is seen speaking to a joint session of the United States Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, USA on September 24, 2015. Photographer: Samuel Corum/AA]

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