VATICAN SUMMIT ON CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
More than 200 Bishops from around the world met with Pope Francis in the Vatican from February 21 through 24 to discuss the ongoing scandals and cover-ups regarding clergy sexual abuse. It is my sincere hope that this gathering will lead to new procedures, protocols and guidelines to protect children, aid victims and rid the Church of wolves in shepherd’s clothing who seek to use their office to gain access to precious sheep in the flock.
Pope Francis compared the scandal to the human sacrifice practiced by pagan cultures and spoke quite clearly about the presence of evil in the Church. Pope Francis made these remarks to conclude the gathering:
The brutality of this worldwide phenomenon becomes all the more grave and scandalous in the Church, for it is utterly incompatible with her moral authority and ethical credibility. Consecrated persons, chosen by God to guide souls to salvation, let themselves be dominated by their human frailty or sickness and thus become tools of Satan. In abuse, we see the hand of the evil that does not spare even the innocence of children. No explanations suffice for these abuses involving children. We stand face to face with the mystery of evil, which strikes most violently against the
most vulnerable, for they are an image of Jesus. For this reason, the Church has now become increasingly aware of the need not only to curb the gravest cases of abuse by disciplinary measures and civil and canonical processes, but also to decisively confront the phenomenon both inside and outside the Church. She feels called to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of her mission, which is to preach the
Gospel to the little ones and to protect them from ravenous wolves.
If in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse—which already in itself represents an atrocity—that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness. Indeed, in people’s justified anger, the Church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons. The echo of the silent cry of the little ones who, instead of finding in them fathers and spiritual guides encountered tormentors, will shake hearts dulled by hypocrisy and by power. It is our duty to pay close heed to this silent, choked cry.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy or a representative of the Church, contact law enforcement immediately. The Attorney General’s hotline number is 844-324-3374. You may also reach out to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Cheryl Williams-Hecksel, 888-308-6252 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.