Pope Francis has removed some bishops immersed in sex abuse scandals, but he’s also offered them comfort and called accusers dumb.

Monterey County Weekly

by Mary Duan

He has attained the popularity of a worldwide rock star. And that’s how the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets of Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia greeted Pope Francis during his first trip to the U.S. in late September.

First to D.C., where he met with the president, addressed Congress and urged leaders to use their power to help heal the world of poverty, conflict and injustice. Then to New York, where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on human rights and environmental justice. Then to Philadelphia, where he attended the citywide Festival of Families, the world’s largest gathering of Catholic families—and met with five survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

According to published reports, Francis met with the survivors as a group and individually, apologizing to them for both the abuse they suffered and for not being heard or believed when they reported it.

According to a story in the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, the pope told them: “Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you.” He added that blame rests not only with the priests who committed the abuse, but with the bishops who kept the abuse hidden or gave predator priests continued access to children, according to the Catholic news website Cruxnow.com.

He told the victims that “all responsible will be held accountable.”

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