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Pope Francis - Society Must Address Child Sexual Abuse

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In a recent address to the Latin American Research and Training Commission for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), Pope Francis emphasized the vital role society plays in combating child sexual abuse. The Pope acknowledged the progress made by the Church in addressing this issue while calling for continued efforts to safeguard vulnerable individuals.

Photo credit: Tadeusz Lakota

Photo credit: Tadeusz Lakota

During his address to CEPROME, Pope Francis stressed that child sexual abuse is not an issue confined to the Church alone. He stated, "The abuses that have affected the Church are but a pale reflection of a sad reality that involves all of humanity and to which the necessary attention is not paid." This acknowledgment underscored the Pope's commitment to addressing the issue on a societal scale.

Pope Francis drew a poignant parallel between the suffering endured by abused children and all vulnerable individuals and the suffering of Christ. He referenced the celebration of St. Christopher de La Guardia, known as the "martyr child," by the Church in Spain on September 25. The Pope mused, "How the world would change if we saw in the suffering of every child, of every vulnerable person, a trait imprinted in the veil with which Veronica wiped the face of Christ!" This profound connection highlights the need for empathy and compassion toward the victims of child sexual abuse.

Pope Francis expressed gratitude for the work of the Latin American commission and commended the Church's strides in addressing and eradicating child sexual abuse. He emphasized that society at large must also be actively engaged in combating this issue. The Pope stated, "It must also be a significant work for society so that the steps and achievements of the Church in this path can be an incentive for other institutions to promote this culture of care." This underscores the collective responsibility in tackling child sexual abuse.

The Pope stressed that the Church's efforts in eradicating child sexual abuse extend beyond the mere application of protocols. He indicated that this endeavor is "entrusted to Jesus in prayer." Pope Francis urged everyone to pray for the conversion of abusers and to view those who commit these heinous crimes through the lens of faith. He invited individuals to seek the intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, praying that perpetrators may see in their victims "the eyes of Jesus who asks them: 'Why do you persecute me?'"

In his address, Pope Francis underscored the urgent need for society to address child sexual abuse as a collective issue, extending empathy and care to all victims. His words serve as a reminder of the ongoing battle to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and to seek justice and healing for survivors.

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