Francis tells Chile’s clergy to seek pardon for abuse and betrayed trust

National Catholic Reporter

January 16, 2018

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis has asked Chile’s Catholic clergy to have the fortitude to ask forgiveness from those who were abused by priests, saying abuse survivors had their trust in the church betrayed and that clerics should seek to “call reality by its name.”

But the pontiff also acknowledged the discomfort experienced by priests not caught up in the scandal, telling hundreds of clergy gathered for a meeting Jan. 16 at Santiago’s Cathedral of the Assumption he knows they operate now in an atmosphere of suspicion.

“I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil,” Francis told the clergy, before listing several of types of pain caused by the abuse.

* * *

One of the organizers of the leading Catholic clergy sexual abuse tracking website called Francis’ comments to the clergy Jan. 16 an indication that he does not understand the scope of the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

“These remarks reveal the pope’s own lack of clear-sightedness,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, who helps run “The ‘reality’ that he should call by its name is the reality of collusion, apathy and cowardice among priests.”

“The pope could have delivered a very different message,” said Barrett Doyle. “He could have urged priests to face their own complicity in the secrecy that shrouds clergy sex abuse.”

“This is another missed opportunity, another indication that Pope Francis still doesn’t get it,” she said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.