AUGUST 25TH, 2018

One in Four views the Pope’s speech at Dublin castle today as a missed opportunity to finally tell the world exactly what concrete steps he intends to take to deal with the crimes of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. While Pope Francis made reference to the sexual abuse scandal, he failed to announce any tangible changes in Vatican law or policy that would tackle the sex offenders and their protectors in a meaningful way.
Executive Director Maeve Lewis says: “The Vatican announced last night that eradicating clerical sexual abuse would require a cultural change that would take time. But the Vatican has been well aware of the sexual abuse scandal since the 1980s if not before and has utterly failed to act. It has thousands of files on sexual abuse allegations in its archives which it consistently refuses to release to civil authorities across the world. Until recently the Vatican encouraged local bishops to deal discreetly with allegations, placing other children at risk. No Pope has ever accepted responsibility for the Vatican’s role in the cover-ups. Acknowledgement of this complicity would have been a good start in Dublin Castle today.”
Maeve Lewis continues “Survivors are weary of apologies that are not followed up with real action. How hard would it be for the Pope to announce a policy of mandatory reporting of all allegations to the civil authorities across the world? How hard would it be to accept the recommendation of his own Commission on the Protection of Minors to establish a special Council charged with dealing with all bishops and cardinals who shield and protect clerical sex offenders?”
“The Pope could learn a great deal from the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who has established a rigorous child safeguarding system in the Dublin Archdiocese. That system could easily become a template to be used in every diocese across the world. How many more children will have to be sexually abused and their whole lives contaminated before real changes are made?”
Maeve Lewis ends: “It is a great credit to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that in his speech today he acknowledged the role of the Irish State in colluding with the Catholic Church in the abuse of women and children and he was wholly unequivocal in calling for zero tolerance of child sexual abuse. What a missed opportunity for the Pope to do the same.