According to the Union of Catholic Asian News, the Pope reiterated its mission when it comes to fighting clerical child abuse within the Catholic Church. This address happened on a plane on the pope's way back from Bahrain where was promoting interfaith dialogue with Islam.
The pope called the abuses a "tragic thing' and that the church is still working to fight the abuses. The pope said that it is an "ongoing process that we are carrying out with courage." As such, the pope also said that the church is adopting a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to offenders. He added that the church should be ashamed of such things while thanking God for the good things.
Zero Tolerance for Clerical Sexual Assault
ABSCBN reported on September that the pope called for 'zero-tolerance' when it comes to offenders He said that no person should continue being a priest if they would commit such acts as they would either be sick or criminal. He added that people who do it are monstrous as they destroy lives.
The pope reiterated that he does not deny any abuse as even a single one of them is monstrous.
As a part of the pope's campaign against the sex offenders, Pope Francis also reportedly amended the Catholic Church's criminal code against priests who engage in pedophilia. It was said that the revision was a "restoration of justice, the reform of the offender, and the repair of scandal."
With the amendment, the offenses and punishments are now placed under "Offenses against human life, dignity and liberty," as oppose to its earlier placement under "Derelicts against special obligations." The penalties now specify the stripping of one's office instead of just a mere suspension.
Additionally, the code added priests who groom or induce minors to pornography to people liable for the punishment. The measures also aim to reduce the number of penalties that would be left to the courts to decide.
The news article also said that the Pope has been highly involved in the fight against sexual abuse scandals with Catholic priests ever since his ascension in 2013.
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Clerical Child Abuse
BBC reported that over the last decades, the Catholic Church has come under scrutiny from severe child sexual abuse accusations. One of these is the report in France that sees over 216,000 children abused by the church from all the way back to the 1950s.
In 1995, there was also the case of the Archbishop of Vienna who had to step down from his post amidst sexual abuse allegations. Historically, there's also the 2002 expose by the Boston Globe newspaper that revealed the abuse of the priests and the clandestine actions that the church committed to protecting the erring church leaders. This Pulitzer Prize-winning article would even become the controversial topic of the 2015 movie "Spotlight." It heavily featured former priest John J. Geoghan who apparently abused children, the majority of them being young boys, in a span of over three decades in various Greater Boston parishes.
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