‘Never again’ to any form of abuse
The letter on sexual abuse, written by Pope Francis to the whole church on August 20, opens a topic which must be near to the hearts of all who make mercy the business of their lives. For at stake is the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our communities. Until now, the subject is one that the pope has usually addressed to the bishops and people of a particular region. But, released in the wake of a scathing report from the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania revealing that 300 Catholic priests had abused more than 1000
children in that state and shortly before Pope Francis visited Ireland where he met and apologised to abuse victims in that country, this letter is addressed to the entire people of God. The pope describes sexual abuse as ‘a culture of death’, and calls the whole church to acknowledge the harm that has been done “with sorrow and shame.” He includes himself among those who need to find a new path.