September 25, 2018
Pope Francis acknowledged Tuesday that the sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church have outraged the faithful and are driving them away, as a new report on abuse by German clergy members put more damning statistics about such crimes into public view. Francis said the church must change its ways if it wants to keep future generations.
Francis referred directly to the crisis convulsing his papacy on the fourth and final day of his Baltic pilgrimage, which coincided with the release of a devastating new report into decades of sex abuse and cover-up in Germany.
Francis told a gathering of young people in Estonia, considered one of the least religious countries in the world, that he knew many young people felt the church had nothing to offer them and simply doesn’t understand their problems today.
“They are outraged by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them,” he told a gathering of Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox young people in the Kaarli Lutheran Church in the capital Tallinn.
He said the Catholic Church wants to respond to those complaints transparently and honestly.
“We ourselves need to be converted,” he said. “We have to realize that in order to stand by your side we need to change many situations that, in the end, put you off.”
It was a very public admission of the church’s failures in confronting sex abuse scandals, which have roared back to the headlines recently with revelations of abuse and cover-up in the U.S., Chilean and now German church.
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