Pope declares ‘zero tolerance’ for church abuse, saying he takes private duty for ending it


Pope Francis says he has taken it on himself to rid the Catholic Church of sexual abuse, telling CNN’s companion channel CNN Portugal that he was “responsible that it doesn’t happen anymore.”

In an unique, wide-ranging interview in Rome final month, the Pontiff stated the church had “zero tolerance” for abuse and stated that “a priest cannot remain a priest if he is an abuser.”

The church’s response to intercourse abuse scandals has change into one of many defining themes of Francis’ time as Pope, and he informed CNN Portugal that each case of abuse inside the church “hurts” him.

A number of experiences detailing many years of sexual abuse, systemic failures and cover-ups throughout a number of international locations have been launched since Francis grew to become the chief of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics in 2013. Whereas he was criticized for a few of his actions – corresponding to when he defended a Chilean bishop accused of overlaying up a intercourse scandal in 2018, a call he later described as a “grave error” – he has since taken a agency stance on the problems and launched some reforms.

In 2019, he abolished Vatican secrecy guidelines for instances of sexual abuse and put in place new guidelines that made it necessary for the primary time for all dioceses to arrange programs for reporting abuse and cover-ups.

Two years later, he issued essentially the most in depth revision to Catholic Church regulation in 4 many years, insisting that bishops take motion in opposition to clerics who abuse minors and susceptible adults. The principles additionally demanded motion in opposition to monks who commit fraud or try and ordain girls.

Addressing the subject, Francis stated he didn’t consider celibacy performed a task in inflicting the abuse.

“I don’t deny the abuse. Even if it was only one [case], it is monstrous. Because you, priest, you, nun, have to take that boy, that girl to God and with this you destroy their lives. It’s monstrous. It is destroying lives. And then they come to you with questions. Could it be that celibacy [is to blame]? It’s not about celibacy,” he stated.

“This is one thing about abuse, it is a destructive thing, humanly diabolical,” he stated. “In families there is no celibacy and all that and, sometimes, it happens. So, it is simply the monstrosity of a man or woman of the church who is psychologically ill or evil and uses their position for their personal satisfaction,” he added.

The Pope additionally revealed that he has been in touch with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, chatting with him on the telephone.

He stated he has previously met each Zelensky and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after they visited him in Rome. However when requested what he might inform the 2, the Pope stated: “I don’t know.

“I had a dialogue with both [of them]. They both visited me here before the war. And I always believe that in dialogue we always move forward,” the Pope stated. “You know who doesn’t know how to talk? Animals. They are pure instinct.”

Francis has been criticized for a few of his feedback about Russia’s warfare on Ukraine. In a June interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Francis stated the warfare “was perhaps in some way either provoked or not prevented.” He stated that earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine he met with “a head of state” who “was very worried about how NATO was moving.”

Final month, the Pope angered Kyiv by referring to Russian political commentator Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist thinker, as being among the many “innocent” victims of the warfare after she was killed by a automotive bomb on the outskirts of Moscow.

The Ukrainian Ministry of International Affairs summoned Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, to debate Francis’ assertion, saying that it “unjustly” equates “the aggressor and the victim.”

The Pope, who has beforehand indicated he can be prepared to journey to Kyiv and Moscow, informed CNN Portugal such a go to was “up in the air.”

No Pope has ever traveled to Moscow earlier than. Pope John Paul II traveled to Ukraine in 2001.

He stated he was unable to journey in the mean time due to points along with his knee, however stated that his presence in Ukraine was “strong” as a result of he despatched a number of cardinals to Kyiv to signify him.