Tagle Among 3 Clerics Favored for Pope by Victims of Sex Abuse

GMA News
March 7, 2013

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is being seen as among the prospects for pope who are most capable of addressing the church's sex abuse crisis.

A U.S.-based organization representing victims of child abuse named Tagle, another cardinal, and an archbishop as the best candidates to become the new pope.

At a news conference in Rome, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that Cardinals Christoph Schonborn and Luis Antonio Tagle and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin were the "least worst" papal candidates on the basis of their words and actions in regards to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

The influential Catholic News Service had previously published a glowing profile of Tagle, highlighting his vocal and candid views on one of the church's most vexing problems.

The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked in recent decades by repeated sex scandals, primarily in wealthy Western nations such as the United States, Ireland and Germany. Many of the cases dated back decades and became known only later.

SNAP member Barbara Doris explained why the organization favors Schonborn, Tagle and Martin before SNAP Director David Clohessy held up a card listing their names.

"The common link among these three men is their courage. They have done things that few if any other bishops or cardinals have tried. They have tried to 'think outside the box' and at times they have been bluntly honest about the failings of other church members, about the failings of their own protocols," said Doris.

On its website, SNAP said, "three papal candidates are the ones we feel are the most “promising candidates." These three were chosen based on their words and actions in regards to the clergy sex abuse crisis. Sources include mainstream media accounts, legal filings and victims’ experiences."

No front-runner for the new pope stands out but leading candidates do include both Cardinal Schonborn and Cardinal Tagle on Vatican watcher lists.

Preventing sex abuse by priests

At a large Vatican-sponsored meeting last year, Tagle was quoted as urging church officials to institute changes to prevent further sex abuses, especially in Asian countries where the church is relatively untouched by the crisis.

"We do not need to wait for a bomb to explode. Preventing it from exploding is the best response," he was reported to have said.

Tagle reportedly "led discussions about how Asian bishops should prepare their child protection policies, particularly given cultural customs and behaviors that could make it difficult to define inappropriate touching and that work to keep abuse secret," according to the Catholic News Service.

Clohessy led a minute's silence at the news conference for the victims of child abuse.

"To have supportive spouses and families is something that a great many survivors tragically do not have so please join us in one minute's silence in honor and appreciation of friends and relatives of abuse victims who suffer along with us," said a visibly emotional Clohessy.

SNAP has filed a report with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which criticizes the Vatican in its handling of clergy sex crimes. It is the first time the organization has made a formal appeal to the UN for help with the crisis.

Clohessy, who says he intends to stay in Rome until a new pope is chosen, said that the successor to Benedict XVI should not be afraid to punish those in the church who cover up abuse scandals.

While many observers had expected the conclave to begin as early as this Sunday (March 10), there have been increasing indications that the cardinals may need more time to ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises. — with Reuters/ELR/HS, GMA News








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