Pope Francis: On sexual abuse, Church and society have a ‘new conscience’

Catholic News Agency

September 26, 2018

The Pope told the inflight press conference that the Church is learning from its mistakes on abuse

Pope Francis said Tuesday that renewed procedures and priorities in handling sex abuse cases have yielded results in the Church, and have developed alongside a greater moral awareness of the dangers of child abuse. Francis spoke during a press conference Sept. 25 on the return flight from a four-day papal visit to the Baltic region.

Citing the Pennsylvania grand jury report released July 14, Francis said the difference between the number of historical and recent abuse cases is clear, and indicates true progress in the way the Church addresses the problem of clerical sexual abuse.

“We see that in the first 70 years there were so many priests that fell into this corruption, then in more recent times it has diminished, because the Church noticed that it needed to fight it in another way,” the pope said. “Watch the [number of cases] and watch when the Church became conscious of this.”

Francis stressed that while meaningful progress should be recognized, there is no such thing as a tolerable level of abuse: “Even if it was just one priest who abused a boy or a girl, this is atrocious, because that man was chosen by God.”

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