Pope Francis Avoids Apology For Clergy Sex Abuse

Why doesn’t popular Pope Francis issue a straightforward apology for rampant child sex abuse by Catholic priests, instead of swerving time and again on the issue?

There is no question that Pope Francis has put a shine on the tarnished Catholic church through acts of humility and courage in the first eight months of his papacy. Cold calls to Catholics and random acts of kindness—including  rumors that he regularly sneaks out of Vatican City at night to help feed the poor in Rome—have endeared him to the most ardent naysayers.  But the first Latin American pontiff hasn’t won everyone over quite yet.

Advocates of the clerical child sex scandal say the pope still has done little to address the church’s disgraceful record on child abuse.  And on Monday, he seemed to miss another big opportunity to apologize for the church’s sins.  In a meeting with 13 Dutch prelates in Rome, he apparently intended to flick at the issue.  According to prepared remarks given to those who attended the meeting, he was planning to say, “I wish to express my compassion and to ensure my closeness in prayer to every victim of sexual abuse, and to their families; I ask you to continue to support them along the painful path of healing, that they have undertaken with courage.”  But those in attendance said he veered off script and instead held an open conversation with the clergy present, failing to focus on the sex abuse problem in the Dutch church as he may have intended, according to the prepared remarks.  Last year, the Dutch government issued a harsh report against the Catholic church after investigating more than 20,000 valid claims of child abuse by priests since 1945.  They called out the Dutch church’s failure to “adequately deal with the abuse.”

Monday’s missed opportunity is not the first time this popular pontiff has...

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