Yesterday, Pope Francis promised Catholic Bishops “will be held accountable” for failing to protect children from sexual abuse.
Acknowledged by some as the Pope’s strongest statement yet of what abuse victims and their advocates have been saying for decades: that Catholic Bishops who have covered-up clergy sexual abuse are just as guilty as their perpetrators. Pope Francis’ comments were made following a private Mass with six selected victims of church sexual abuse— three men and three women—representing Britain, Ireland and Germany. He met with them for about 30 minutes in his private residence at Casa Santa Marca. According to a text of the statement provided by the Vatican, the Pope apologized to them for their abuse and asked for forgiveness.
In response, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP
(http://www.snapnetwork.org) through its President, Barbara Blaine, told CNN: “Let’s not mistake this meeting today for real action. The meeting today will not make children safer.”
I agree. Like papal pronouncements before his, Francis’s words acknowledge the harm priests have inflicted on children. But to be truly accountable, Francis must follow up his sentiment with decisive action, such as: directing bishops, their lobbyist and lawyers not to fight pro-victim legislation but to allow survivors access to the courts and make public the identities and files of priest-perpetrators as well as their bishop-enablers. If not, why not? Only through such action and openness can real change be effected. Tired words are not enough.
On behalf of victims and their families, Tahira Khan Merritt has successfully litigated many cases of clergy sexual abuse involving the Roman Catholic Church. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse or sexual assault, caused or enabled by the negligence and/or gross negligence of any religious institution such as the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church and the like, the Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt stands ready to help you with your legal needs. Contact our office today at 214-503-7300 or through our website http://tkmlawfirm.com/
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