Pope Francis said that to overcome the culture of abuse requires a unified effort by both church and congregation. | Photo: Reuters
The Catholic church fosters a “culture of abuse and cover-up,” Pope Francis acknowledged in a letter to Chilean sexual abuse victims on Thursday.
“The ‘never again’ to the culture of abuse, as well as the system of cover-ups that allow it to perpetuate, requires working together to generate a culture of care that permeates our ways of understanding,” the pope wrote in the eight-page letter.
With yet another session for victims scheduled at the Vatican, the pope asked for forgiveness for previously failing to defend victims amid attempts by both clergy and the public to discredit them.
Pope Francis also criticized Irish bishops who, in 2010, “inadequately” responded to sexual abuse claims.
“The ‘never again’ to the culture of abuse, as well as the system of cover-ups that allow it to perpetuate, requires working together to generate a culture of care that permeates our ways of understanding,” he said.
A lack of consideration for victims is one of the church’s biggest failures, the pope said, admitting it led to “partial” judicial processes and thus allowed clergy members to avoid punishment.
“It’s shameful, I must say, that we didn’t know how to listen or respond in time,” Pope Francis said, thanking the victims for their “valiant perseverance” towards justice.
Finally, the pope confirmed travel plans for Bishops Charles Scicluna and Jordi Bertomeu, who are being sent to Osorno. The parish was once the domain of now-disgraced Bishop Juan Barros, who the Vatican found guilty of covering-up abuse committed by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima.
Osorno Spokesman Juan Carlos Claret said the impending visit is the “least we could hope for,” considering the pains the congregation endured while Barros was being promoted, despite protests.
The pope recently apologized for his “grave error in judgment” regarding the cover-up, which he attributed to the “lack of truthful and balanced information.”