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Pope Francis Condemns Abuses by Roman Catholic Priests, Vatican will Show “Zero Tolerance”

Photo Credit: Reuters

The Roman Catholic Church’s highest official, Pope Francis, said he is into the full eradication of the abuse cases that surrounds the members of the faith.

The Pontiff added that he is responsible for this mission as he heads the very Church that does not readily punish the abusers. “Zero tolerance” for violence is now the Pope’s goal. “A priest cannot remain a priest if he is an abuser,” said Francis.

In his appointment as Pope of the world’s largest religion in terms of number, sex abuse committed by priests and how the Roman Catholic Church responds to it has been a significant point of discussion. According to Francis, every case that he comes into ‘hurts’ him, thinking why a person who took the veil of service to the people and God could do such horrifying acts.

Innumerable cases and reports of sexual abuse by priests have already sprung up ever since Francis took the papacy in 2013. But, along with it are systemic failures, negligence, and coverups that not only spread fear among Catholics but also stained Francis’ noble job as Pope of the Church.

Fight against abuse

Francis has already been criticized several times for how he has responded to cases of sexual abuse. For example, in 2018, a Chilean bishop allegedly covered up a sex scandal which alerted many. Pope Francis defended the accused and, in doing so, angered many who have long hated the systemic protection of abusers within a powerful institution.

However, Francis then apologized to the public for his ‘grave error’ and introduced reforms within the system to ensure it did not happen again. Subsequently, the Pope abolished the Vatican secrecy rules for sexual abuse cases and improved the system, which allows for more rapid treatment of cases of sexual abuse.

Two years after Francis made the revision, he made another bold move — something that any high church official had not done in 40 years. Francis ordered bishops to take swift and just actions against clerics or Church officials who commit abuse against minors and adults. Fraud and ordaining women also were emphasized by Francis in the order.

“I don’t deny the abuse. Even if it was only one [case], it is monstrous. Because you, priest, you, nun, have to take that boy, that girl to God, and with this, you destroy their lives. It’s monstrous. It is destroying lives. And then they come to you with questions. Could it be that celibacy is to blame]? It’s not about celibacy,” Francis said.

“This is one thing about abuse; it is a destructive thing, humanly diabolical,” he added.

“In families, there is no celibacy and all that, and, sometimes, it happens. So, it is simply the monstrosity of a man or woman of the Church who is psychologically ill or evil and uses their position for their personal satisfaction.”

The Pope’s take on the war between Russia and Ukraine

In an interview with the media, the Pope said Russia and Ukraine contacted him. According to Francis, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky talked with him on the phone. Although the Pope did not reveal what they were talking about.

“I had a dialogue with both of them. They both visited me here before the war. And I always believe that in dialogue, we always move forward,” said the Pope. “You know who doesn’t know how to talk? Animals. They are pure instinct.”

The Pope’s statements are regarded with high respect from all over the world, which is why when he made a statement regarding the death of Darya Dugina, a Russian political commentator, as one of the “innocent” victims of war, Kyiv was aggrieved.

The Foreign Ministry called Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, to express their frustration over Francis’ statement saying that it is “equating the aggressor and the victim.”

The Pope alluded that he might travel to Kyiv and Moscow in hopes of providing counsel to the leaders in the peaceful resolution of their conflict. If done, Francis will become the first pope to travel to Moscow. And the first to travel to Kyiv in over 20 years.

What’s stopping the Pope at the moment is his knee issues. However, once cleared to travel, the Pope will be on his way to both countries. Francis has already sent cardinals to Kyiv ahead of him.

Source: CNN

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