Philadelphia’s archbishop Chaput has been, shall we say, less than warm and supportive of the victims and has refused to meet with them. So Pope Francis is laying down the law:
PHILADELPHIA — Speaking to hundreds of bishops and seminarians, Pope Francis on Sunday said he met in private with a group of victims of sexual abuse and he pledged that “all responsible will be held accountable.”
“God weeps for the sexual abuse of children,” he said.
The pope, speaking on the last day of his trip to the United States, delivered his words before his prepared speech. He said abuse survivors “have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their value as they have had to suffer terrible abuse.”
In several references to the scandal during his trip, the pope drew criticism for seeming more concerned about the scandal’s effect on the clergy than the victims.
At a prayer service with bishops in Washington on Wednesday, he told the bishops he was “conscious of courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.” He told clergy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York: “You have suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the church in the most vulnerable of her members.” He added: “I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty.”
I did not take this the way most people did, mostly because I had a sarcastic Irish mother and also know how Jesuits think. Trust me, he was chiding them for not doing enough.
But on Sunday, he said he committed himself “to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.”