Priest Abuse Victims Call for Major Changes in Church
Victims of clerical sex abuse and members of the Catholic Church once again demand that the Vatican and Pope Francis take substantive measures to stop abuse and act for justice for the victims.
Victims and former priests denounced what they say is the Vatican’s “hypocrisy,” as well as the “contradictions that exist in its attempts to tackle the crime, at a press conference in Mexico City Monday.
In an open letter to the Pope, the panel of participants wrote: “We find not only ambiguities, but obvious contradictions between your actions and your pledge that you would not tolerate pedophilia and take all the steps necessary to end this calamity in the Church.”
In early February, Francis sent a letter to the church’s bishops and other high-ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy calling for a zero-tolerance policy towards child sex abuse as well as those who cover up incidents.
However, the group of outspoken victims say the Pope’s announcement is only superficial. They point to recent Papal appointments of priests and cardinals who have been accused of covering up serious cases of child abuse.
The victims argue that the Church continues to seek ways to avoid negative attention that may harm its prestige. They say that turning a blind eye has done much more harm than good to the institution’s image.
In the open letter they say that there has been a “great holocaust of thousands of boys and girls who were sacrificed to avoid scandal and salvage the image and prestige of the Catholic Church’s representatives in the world.”
The participants of the Mexico City conference, which had individuals from Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic and the United States calling for a systematic shake-up of the Church’s hierarchy, as well as a measure that will guarantee that offenders are turned over to the judicial systems of their countries for trial.
The group has also formed an international network for the Americas, hoping that more victims will come forward and report abusers.