Pope Francis Wants “Decisive Action” On Sex Abuse Cases
At least rhetorically, Pope Francis continues to send indications that he’s interested in flipping over a few tables in Rome:
Pope Francis has called for “decisive action” in the fight against sex abuse of minors by priests.
He told Bishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith – the Vatican watchdog that deals with sex abuse cases – to ensure that perpetrators were punished.
It was the Argentine Pope’s first public statement on clerical sex abuse.
A leading sex abuse survivors’ group has responded with scepticism, saying “actions speak louder than words”.
In his remarks on Friday, Pope Francis said combating the crisis – which has mired the Church in scandal from the US, Ireland and Europe to Australia – was important for the credibility of the Church.
A Vatican statement said the Pope had urged Bishop Mueller to “act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty”.
The survivor’s group is right that actions speak louder than words, but the fact that this seems to be another example over the past three weeks in which the new Pope has distanced himself from the Roman Curia and even his predecessors suggests that there may be more to this than just rhetoric. If he can pull it off, Francis may end up be much more of a reformist Pope than anyone anticipated when he stepped out on that balcony last month.