- Nov 28, 2020
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of an Australian archbishop convicted of covering up the sexual abuse of children by a priest, after coming under mounting pressure from Australian priests and even the prime minister.
“Pope Francis must make the protection of children a priority now,” said former member of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors and child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet.
Following the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, further scrutiny into clerical sexual abuses ensues.
Archbishop John C. Wester published an op-ed piece in The Albuquerque Journal on Sunday expressing “sadness and shame over the betrayal of trust” by clergy “who were supposed to love and protect our children,” and for the suffering of abuse survivors. He also said a series of panel discussions scheduled from Nov. 7 to Jan. 31 at five parishes will “promote further transparency and healing.”
Through the years the Vatican has developed strong rules and regulations to fight sex abuse in the clergy, but two recent sex abuse scandals in Catholic lay associations show that in these cases the Church is still very slow to respond and that often local bishops fail to exercise the necessary monitoring.
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading anti-abuse expert and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, called a report documenting hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse at a German boys’ choir “shocking,” and warned that as the taboo lifts in other parts of the world, similar accounts are likely to keep emerging.