PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While speaking to bishops and archbishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis touched on a number of topics, including sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
He said, “In my heart, the suffering of those youth that were sexually abused, and it continues to be on my mind. The people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain.”
Pope Francis continued, “God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret. I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.”
“Those that have survived this abuse have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their great value, as they have had to suffer with terrible abuse, sexual abuse, of minors. I say this, I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop, and I felt it very important that I share this with you today. And I am very happy to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you amid the joyful celebration of this World Meeting of Families.”
“For the church, the family, is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather a … of god’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the church can rejoice in the Lord’s gift of so many families, who even amid difficult trials, maintain faithful to their promise and keep the faith.”
“I would say that this is a very difficult period of transition that required that we move forward…”
Earlier in the morning at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis met with five victims of sex abuse. Though, now adults, the three women, two men were victimized as minors by clergy, teachers or family members. During the half- hour meeting, the Pope listened to each of their stories and prayed with them.
According to the the Press Office of the Holy See: “He told them that he shared in their suffering, and he had pain and shame in particular in the case of injury caused by clergy or church workers. He renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society.The Pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to restore the truth and begin the journey of healing.”
Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the commission set up by the Pope for the protection of minors, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s commission for the protection of minors were also present in the meeting.