Pope Francis attempts to tackle sexual abuse globally and in his own backyard

Religion News Service

November 5, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

This ongoing clergy sex abuse trial at the Vatican will be a litmus test for the efficacy of Pope Francis’ reforms.

Vatican City – Recent comments by Catholic clergy and a sex abuse trial inside the Vatican highlight Pope Francis’ uphill battle in enforcing accountability and child protection within the Catholic Church.

“Which is worse, abortion or an act of pedophilia?” asked the Rev. Andrea Leonesi, the vicar of the Diocese of Macerata, Italy, during a homily on Oct. 27 that was recorded and later went viral.

In his homily, Leonesi implied abortion is worse than pedophilia and condemned the protests women have led in Poland, where the highest court recently applied further restrictions on abortion.

“In Poland these feminists are loose and doing anything to protest,” the priest said. “Wives must be submissive toward their husbands; do you understand ladies? The husband is in fact the master of the woman,” he added.

The homily, which was uploaded to YouTube on Monday (Nov. 2), garnered a lot of criticism by political activists for gender equality in Italy. Bishop Nazzareno Marconi of Macerata defended his second-in-command by saying while “the drama of pedophilia is a battle that must engage us all,” the homily wished to “guarantee the right to not have an abortion for every woman.”

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