August 20th 2018

One in Four is both disappointed and frustrated with Pope Francis’ letter about child sexual abuse, issued by the Vatican today.  The letter re-hashes the apologies and condemnation of clerical child sexual abuse without identifying one single concrete step that the Vatican intends to take to hold clerical sex offenders and those who protect them accountable for their crimes.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis says:  “There is nothing in this new communication from Pope Francis to show that the Vatican intends to put in place clear laws and protocols that will hold every bishop and cardinal who shield sex offenders and place them in positions where they can continue to abuse children.  Survivors are tired of meaningless apologies and expressions of solidarity that do not involve a clear call to action.”

“In every jurisdiction where an independent Inquiry has been held, the same old pattern emerges.   These Inquiries have taken place in countries with strong child protection laws and a transparent criminal justice system.  I am appalled to think of what must be happening in the developing world, where millions of Catholic children live, and where priests and the hierarchy are still treated as an untouchable elite.  As the Pope acknowledges, clerical sexual abuse is not only a thing of the past but poses a current threat to children.  We call on the Pope to immediately put in place a system of mandatory reporting to civil authorities across the globe and the immediate dismissal of religious superiors who place children in harm’s way.”

Maeve Lewis ends: “The Pope’s visit is very distressing to many survivors, retriggering old emotions of shame, humiliation, despair and anger.  The least they deserve during this papal visit is a clear commitment that the Catholic Church finally intends to deal with clerical child sexual abuse.”

One in Four supports the Stand for Truth Gathering on Sunday 26th at the Garden of Remembrance at 3pm.


For comment:    Maeve Lewis Executive Director 087 7584080

                                Deirdre Kenny Advocacy Director 087 2721694