Photo Credit: Reuters
Pope Francis, the top official of the Roman Catholic Church, declared that he is dedicated to the complete eradication of the abuse cases that surround the followers of the faith.
The Pontiff further said that since he is the leader of the Church, which doesn’t always punish abusers, he is personally accountable for handling this mission. The Pope now seeks “zero tolerance” for violence. If a priest abuses, he cannot continue to serve as a priest, said Francis.
The issue of sexual abuse by priests and how the Roman Catholic Church handles it has received much attention since his polls as the leader of the world’s most numerous religions. Francis claims that every case he encounters “hurts” him because he wonders how someone could commit such heinous acts while wearing the veil of service to God and the public.
Since Francis became Pope in 2013, countless incidences and reports of priest sexual abuse have already surfaced. But along with it come structural flaws, lack of concern, and cover-ups that not only instilled fear in Catholics but also marred Francis’ illustrious tenure as Pope of the Church.
Fighting the abuse among Roman Catholic institutions
Francis has already received criticism for handling cases of sexual abuse on various occasions. For instance, a bishop in Chile is charged of covering up a sex scandal in 2018, which raised many concerns. In defending the accused, Pope Francis dismayed many people who have long detested the institutionalized defense of abusers.
Francis later issued a public apology for his “grave error” and instituted systemic changes to ensure it never happened again. The Pope subsequently abolished the Vatican’s sexual abuse secrecy regulations. He also improved the system and made it possible for cases of sexual abuse to be handled more quickly.
Francis made another bold decision two years after the revision, something that no high church official had done in forty years. Francis commanded bishops to act swiftly and reasonably when handling clergy or church officials who abuse both minors and adults. In addition, Francis placed a strong emphasis on fraud and the ordination of women in the order.
“I don’t deny the abuse. Even if it was only one [case], it is monstrous. Because you, priest, you, nun, have to take that boy, that girl to God, and with this, you destroy their lives. It’s monstrous. It is destroying lives. And then they come to you with questions. Could it be that celibacy is to blame]? It’s not about celibacy,” said Pope Francis.
“This is one thing about abuse; it is a destructive thing, humanly diabolical.”
“In families, there is no celibacy and all that, and, sometimes, it happens. So, it is simply the monstrosity of a man or woman of the Church who is psychologically ill or evil and uses their position for their personal satisfaction.”
The Pope on the Russian-Ukrainian war
The Pope claimed in a media interview that Russia and Ukraine tried contacting him. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, allegedly spoke with Francis on the phone. However, the Pope is tight-lipped on the contents of their discussion.
“I had a dialogue with both of them. They both visited me here before the war. And I always believe that in dialogue, we always move forward,” Francis said. “You know who doesn’t know how to talk? Animals. They are pure instinct.”
The world takes the Pope in high esteem, so when he announced that the killing of Russian political commentator Darya Dugina was one of the “innocent” victims of war, Kyiv was incensed.
Francis’ assertion “equates the aggressor and the victim, “said the Foreign Ministry, which called the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, to hear their side.
In an effort to assist the leaders of Kyiv and Moscow in finding a peaceful solution to their conflict, the Pope hinted that he might visit both cities. Francis would be the first pope to visit Moscow if it were to happen. Moreover, it would be the first visit of a pope to Kyiv in more than 20 years.
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