- Dec 6, 2019
A lay Catholic group in southern Chile that has opposed a bishop accused of sex abuse cover-up says revelations by The Associated Press that Pope Francis heard directly from a victim about the problem “brings an end to his ‘zero tolerance’ rhetoric.”
Two Catholic bishops in Chile accused of witnessing abuse by the country’s most notorious pedophile priest and covering it up deny those charges, saying the news came as a “profound shock” to them too.
“The conscience of the Church arrived a little late” on sexual abuse, Pope Francis said during an audience at the Vatican, adding that sexual abuse is a “sickness” and that there will be no pardon for abusers who are found guilty. Abuse survivor Marie Collins praised the pope’s words, but stated that the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy is “toothless” without accountability.
As news breaks around the world that Australian Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s Secretary for the Economy, has been charged criminally with historical sexual offenses, reactions have poured in from around the globe. Pell’s accusers say they’re elated, even as their attorney tries to dampen their expectations, while longtime Pell friends are emphasizing his decency and integrity.
On Saturday, Pope Francis called Marie Collins, an abuse survivor who recently quit his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors citing Vatican resistance to reform, a “great woman” and said she’s “right on some things.” In a Crux interview, Collins expressed gratitude but also said that the Church still needs uniform global standards and a way to hold bishops accountable.