Pope Francis calls for more transparency for sexual abuse survivors

Axios [Arlington VA]

April 30, 2022

By Jacob Knutson

Pope Francis warned on Friday that people will further lose trust in the Catholic Church if it does not become more transparent and accountable on abuses against children committed by priests and covered up by religious superiors, AP reports.

Driving the news: Francis told his sex abuse advisory commission to create special survivor welcome centers around the world where victims of sexual abuse can find healing and justice. He also requested an audit of the church’s progress on protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse.

  • The meeting with the committee has been seen as an effort to revitalize and expand the commission’s mandate, making it part of the church’s central government.

What they’re saying: “The testimony of the survivors represents an open wound on the body of Christ, which is the church,” Francis told the commission, which he created in 2013 to advise the church on how to prevent abuse, according to AP.

  • “It is your responsibility to expand the scope of this mission in such a way that the protection and care of those who have experienced abuse may become normative in every sector of the church’s life,” he added.

The big picture: A major report published in January faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI for the mishandling of four sex abuse cases when he was archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese.

  • Benedict initially denied any wrongdoing after the report was released, then later asked for forgiveness for any “grievous faults” he committed in his handling of the abuse cases.