Pope Francis has spoken about the history of sexual abuse within the church and its clergy, but the acknowledgement isn’t enough for victims.
Victims from around the world banded together on Monday to address what they feel Pope Francis should do with these “pedophile priests,” according to Patheos.
The group of victims from the United States, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico wrote a letter on Monday addressed to the Pope that was made public in Mexico City.
According to First Post, in regards to the Pope’s acknowledgement of the pain these pedophile priests has caused, the group stated, “words are not enough.”
— Press TV (@PressTV) February 17, 2015
So what are the victims looking for? The victims are asking for Pope Francis to allow “civilian trials and Church reform.”
The victims spoke very strongly about the ongoing sexual abuse scandal, referring to it as a “great holocaust of thousands of boys and girls who were sacrificed to avoid scandal and salvage the image and prestige of the Catholic Church’s representatives in the world.”
And while the Pope has spoken out against these pedophile priests and has stated that he will have a “zero tolerance” policy, the victims considered his statements to be “ambiguous and contradictory,” explaining that unless they lead to “institutional process toward truth and justice,” they are just words.
Reading the letter was Jose Barba, one of the victims of Marcial Maciel, who not only had relationships with two different women and fathered two children while acting as priest, but was accused of sexually abusing countless boys.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean victim who was in attendance when the letter was read stated, “We demand that the pope, at the very least, live up to his word because we can all make headlines. Enough with the headlines.”
Cruz added that the he felt “deeply betrayed” by Pope Francis and his inaction.
Since being elected in May of 2013, Pope Francis has “asked victims for forgiveness, pledged to combat pedophilia and formed a Church child protection panel.”
Francis also sent out a letter to his bishops instructing the clergy that “they must never try to cover up sexual abuse.”
The Pope has also intervened in a case in Spain where 10 priests were accused of sexually assaulting a boy. Francis expressed his “great pain” over the situation and ordered an investigation.
These victims are asking for more, though. They have referred to all his talk of ending sexual abuse in the church as a “superficial public relations move that does not bring justice to the victims or punish the criminals.”
The world will continue to watch to see if Pope Francis acts on his words and puts an end to a scandal that has plagued the church and its victims for far too long.
[Photo Courtesy of Franco Origlia/Getty Images]