NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times
January 22, 2018
By Jason Horowitz
Rome – For years, victims of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church and their advocates have asked when Pope Francis would adjust his blind spot on an issue that has caused enormous damage to Catholics, the reputation of the church and the pontiffs who preceded him.
But the pope’s remarks overnight Sunday as he returned from a trip to Chile and Peru — apologizing for demanding proof of abuse from victims in Chile even as he continued to doubt them — prompted concerns that he just does not understand.
“There was great hope that this pope understood — he ‘got it’ — but if that were true we would not have his words today,” said Marie Collins, a survivor of abuse who last year resigned in frustration from the pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
“Anyone who was still clinging to the hope there would be real change in the church to the issue of abuse and this change would be led by Pope Francis will have lost that hope today,” Ms. Collins said.
At this point in his papacy, some supporters worry that the pope’s lackluster record on holding the church hierarchy accountable for its role in the abuse crisis could threaten to erode the moral authority and global popularity necessary for the pope to make progress on priorities in and out of the church.
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