The Atlantic

Survivors of Church Abuse Want Zero Tolerance. The Pope Offers Context.

At a Vatican conference on clerical sexual abuse, victims spoke of their lives being ruined. Closing the conference, Francis appeared to equivocate.
Source: Remo Casilli / Reuters

VATICAN CITY—At a Vatican conference on protecting minors in the Church, abuse survivors, including a woman who’d been raped repeatedly by a priest, told how their lives had been ruined—before Pope Francis and an audience of 190 prelates from around the world. A Nigerian nun took the Church to task for “mediocrity, hypocrisy, and complacency.” A cardinal acknowledged that some Church files on abuse cases had been systematically destroyed.

All this seemed a step forward. And then in his closing remarks here on Sunday, Francis struck a different tone.

In a speech at the end of a Mass in which prelates had offered a “,” Francis put the Church’s sexual-abuse provoked by guilt for past errors and media pressure, and a that fails to confront the causes and effects of these grave crimes.”

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