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The new Pope was supposed to be different. He promised a policy of Zero Tolerance toward clergy guilty in the sexual abuse scandals. But do his words in Chili this week tell a different story?

The AP reported:

Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”

This came after he was said to have visited with survivors earlier and cried with them.  As Jeff Anderson, a leading advocate on behalf of survivors of clergy sexual abuse, pointed out:

On Tuesday in Chile, Pope Francis met with survivors of priests who sexually abused them. According to news reports, he wept with them, apologized for their pain, shame and damage, and vowed to commit to make sure such abuse never happens again.

And before his visit Bishop Accountability, a group that documents the abuse crisis, provided the proof:

BishopAccountability.org has examined news and court archives and identified nearly 80 clergy in Chile publicly accused of sexually abusing minors.

The church needs to show the world they truly believe their zero tolerance doctrine and use it to shine light on what happened.  The church needs to ensure that that this abuse can never happen again. They need to stop just moving abusive priests around and stop putting them in situations that allow great access to kids.  They need to get those who haven’t followed the rules out of power. They needed to stop hiding.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders, and those around them needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.

I have looked at this and similar issues before :

The United States Catholic Church Needs to Take Zero Tolerance to Heart, Mike Bryant July 12, 2012 9:23 AM

Attack of the Church Apologists, Mike Bryant October 24, 2012 9:40 AM

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