Pope Francis met with six victims of sexual assault; people who had trusted clerics, but were victimized through sex crimes. (Why do they call it “sexual abuse”? As though there is some standard of “sexual use” that is acceptable? It is a word thing, I know.)
The pontiff spoke of the need to address not only the criminal priests, but also the bishops who did nothing or little when learning of specific men who committed these crimes. He asked for forgiveness of the Church for its inattention.
Francis has appointed a special commission to address the sex crimes scandal, and included in that team a prominent Irish victim who is now an advocate.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, acknowledged the meeting is an important step on the long road to healing – and restoring faith in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
We can only hope.
(S-R photo: Pope Francis I)