by 👨💻 Simon Baxendale
Ongoing concerns with regard to sexual abuse which allegedly occurred at the hands of Catholic clergy over the years appear to be reaching boiling point in recent days. The Church has faced considerable controversy over members of its brethren reportedly abusing young people in recent times and, as such, voices have been growing ever louder in the hunt for answers and for justice. Pope Francis, largely seen as a progressive papal leader and one who has remained a positive figure in the public eye – is of course at the epicenter of the debate as the leader of the Church. As such, he has recently come under fire from those looking for justice with regard to the way in which he is handling what amounts to a very public crisis indeed.
▶ Pope Francis orders an investigation of an American bishop accused of sexual misconduct
The Pope has recently called a summit between leaders in the Church to directly address claims of sexual abuse and assault which will reportedly take place in February 2019 – but some are concerned that the leader is moving far too slowly, perhaps worryingly so for some, in his investigation. Speaking with CNN, clerical sex abuse survivor Mark Vincent Healy claimed that the Vatican is moving at a ‘glacial pace’ with regard to the claims that continue to reverberate in the press.
“PopeFrancis has had since March 2013, when he was elected, time to deal with the scandal of clergy child sexual abuse,” Healy advised in conversation. “From around the world, inquiries have reported their findings and received commentary in countless reports, audits, films, documentaries, media flashes and bursts – all the while, the Vatican moves at a glacial pace to ‘address’ the scandal with words of apology and acknowledgment of the harm done.”
Healy is not alone in his assessment. Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, and also a survivor of such abuse, too voiced his concerns with CNN. “The Catholic Church, at a global level, knew about these crimes, has known about them for millennia. But its approach has always been to keep those crimes secret.
▶ Survivor of clerical abuse: Stop praying for us and start taking action
Rising numbers in reports across Germany and the US with regard to clerical abuse have placed the Pope under additional pressure to act – with a number of high profile investigations poised to all but begin, it seems that action needs to be taken now, and not a moment later, if any hope of justice is to be sought.