Pope Francis should end sanctions on victims of pedophile priests
By Andrew Willis
Like many others I’m heartened that Pope Francis is talking about sanctioning priests that sexually abuse children, but what about his sanctions for the cardinals, archbishops and priests that have fought so hard to silence victims and protect the mother church?
And what about lifting the sanctions on victims? What about concern for them replacing concern for the church? What about instructing the church’s army of highly paid and diligent lawyers and lobbyists to step out of the way of the brave victims who need to tell their story as a way of both healing their broken souls and stopping their abusers’ continuing to abuse.
Because the best way to help a rapist to keep raping victims is to do nothing. To silence victims.
“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children,” Pope Francis told members of a children’s rights group, the International Catholic Child Bureau, according to Vatican Radio.
Sanctioning pedophile priests is important. So important one has to wonder why the leader of a church even needs to mention it? However, continuing to sanction the institutionalized abuse of victims who are brave enough to report abuse sends a signal far beyond the walls of the church. It sends a signal into the homes of every member of the community, that it is OK to cover up abuse.
Pope Francis cannot claim moral leadership on child abuse until his church puts the rights of children and victims before the churches own right to silence and secrecy.
Whilst the Pope is speaking about sanctioning priests he’s not speaking about how the church continues to twist arms in New York and other state legislature to block the passage of the Child Victims Act. A law that allows victims access to courts, the proven way of identifying molesters and pedophiles.
Only after they are identified can all our other child protective systems work.
We’re waiting, Pope Francis. You could start by extraditing Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski back to his native Poland where he should be answering allegations of sex abuse there and in the Dominican Republic where he served as papal nuncio until his August 2013 dismissal.
Then join us in fighting to eliminate the statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse so we can prevent further abuse and cover up.
That might restore my faith. If it would also support yours then click the button and sign our petition.Support Victims
Andrew Willis is a founding partner of the Stop Abuse Campaign. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and suicide. Formerly a Madman of Madison Avenue he has two sons and lives in Harlem, New York. He’s a frequent speaker at conferences, blogs for the Stop Abuse Campaign, and he’s a Believer.