Clerical sex abuse, and measures being taken to prevent it, was the first subject reporters asked the Pope during his press conference on the papal plane back from the Holy Land last night.
In response, the Pope highlighted three points: that no preferential treatment will be given to anyone being investigated; that on June 6-7 he will be having a Mass for abuse victims at the Vatican; and that in the action of abuse, a priests defies trust of his victim and betrays the Lord’s body, an action which, he said, can be compared to a black mass.
The Pope also revealed that “at the moment there are three bishops under investigation” and that “one has already been convicted and the punishment needs to be decided.”
“There will be no preferential treatment when it comes to child abuse,” the Pope said. He added, that in Argentina, “we call those who receive preferential treatment ‘spoilt children’. There will be no ‘spoilt children’ in this case.”
Turning to next week’s meeting for victims at the Vatican, he said there will “be a Mass with some abuse victims in St. Martha’s House. Then I will hold a meeting with them. A zero tolerance approach needs to to be adopted with regards to this issue.”
He said when a priest commits abuse, he “betrays the Lord’s body.”
A priest “must guide children towards sainthood, and the child trusts him,” Francis said. “But instead, when he abuses him or her, this is very serious. It’s like celebrating a black mass! Instead of steering him or her towards the sainthood you create a problem that will stay with him or her for all of his or her life.” (D.C.L.)