Local Victims React to Pope's Statement on Clergy Sex Abuse
July 7, 2014
The Pope made some of his strongest remarks yet about the sexual abuse scandal surrounding the Roman Catholic Church, but those words aren’t enough for some victims of abuse.
Pope Francis begged for forgiveness and vowed bishops would be “held accountable” for failing to protect children from sexual abuse. He made the remarks during a private mass with half a dozen victims of sexual abuse.
Other victims said the remarks don’t go far enough.
“It’s not enough for him to reach out and say, ‘Oh, too bad. I’m sorry this happened,’” said Carol Zamonski, a child abuse survivor and member of the victim’s group SNAP. “I want action.”
Zamonski said the Pope’s words are not meaningless though. She just wishes he included more specifics on plans to protect children.
“What we really want to see is the Pope taking action on removing people from posts of any kind of responsibility who have withheld information on sex crimes or moved priests and nuns from place to place who were perpetrating sexual abuse,” she said.
Just last summer Father Ronald Atwood was removed from his post at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Victorian Village after allegations of sexual abuse from 1970s. That abuse allegedly happened while he was working at Bishop Ready High School.
Survivors caution this kind of abuse is not buried deep in the past.
“This is something that is ongoing that has not yet been solved,” Zamonski said.
Some hope the Pope’s latest remarks can be a first step toward solving that problem.
“It’s really important that the kids be safe,” she said.
ABC6/FOX28 reached out to the Diocese of Columbus to get its reaction to the Pope’s comments. Several calls went unreturned.