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Pope set to meet with group of abuse victims

Pope Francis will meet with a group of sex abuse victims for the first time in June, he has revealed.

During an inflight news conference on his return to Rome from the Holy Land, the Pope also confirmed reports the Vatican is investigating the misappropriation of around £15 million from the Vatican bank and also announced his plans to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January.

The Holy Father described the abuse of children by priests as ‘such an ugly crime’ and a ‘very grave’ problem, saying that the betrayal of a priest’s duty to lead young people to holiness, is comparable to performance of a Black Mass.

“We must move ahead, ahead, zero tolerance,” he said.

As an indication of how seriously he takes the problem, the Pope said that he would meet in the first week of June with a group of six to eight sex abuse victims from various countries, including Germany, England and Ireland

Pope Francis said that the Church cannot have privileged ‘daddy’s boys,’ exempt from punishment when it comes to sex abuse of minors. He revealed that three unnamed bishops are currently under investigation by the Vatican for misdeeds related to sex abuse, and another has been found guilty and is awaiting punishment. It was not clear if the bishops in question had been accused of personally abusing children or of mishandling accusations of abuse against other priests.

The Holy Father was also asked about reports the Vatican mishandled £15 million in funds held by the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, when Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was secretary of state,

“It’s something being studied, it’s not clear,” the Pope said. “Maybe it’s the truth, but at this moment it’s not definitive.”

Asked if he might follow his predecessor’s lead and ever resign, Pope Francis said he would pray for the wisdom to obey God’s will, but added that Pope Benedict had ‘opened the door’ to the possibility of other retired Popes and would not remain a ‘unique case.’



—This story ran in full in the May 30 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.




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