The Atlantic

Survivors of Church Abuse Want Zero Tolerance. The Pope Offers Context.

At a Vatican conference on clerical sexual abuse, victims spoke of their lives being ruined. Closing the conference, Francis appeared to equivocate.
Source: Remo Casilli / Reuters

VATICAN CITY—At a Vatican conference on protecting minors in the Church, abuse survivors, including a woman who’d been raped repeatedly by a priest, told how their lives had been ruined—before Pope Francis and an audience of 190 prelates from around the world. A Nigerian nun took the Church to task for “mediocrity, hypocrisy, and complacency.” A cardinal acknowledged that some Church files on abuse cases had been systematically destroyed.

All this seemed a step forward. And then in his closing remarks here on Sunday, Francis struck a different tone.

In a speech at the end of a Mass in which prelates had offered a “,” Francis put the Church’s sexual-abuse provoked by guilt for past errors and media pressure, and a that fails to confront the causes and effects of these grave crimes.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Best Athlete Americans Have Never Heard Of
American pro athletes face pressure to stick to sports. Australia’s David Pocock has a different idea.
The Atlantic3 min read
Alone In The Dark In The Bay Area
Earlier this week, Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents to mitigate the risk of fires. The city of Berkeley put out some vital information for those who might be affected: “If you are power-dependent for med
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
The NBA-China Disaster Is a Stress Test for Capitalism
On August 19, the definition of a company in America changed. The Business Roundtable, a U.S. lobbying group that represents nearly 200 companies, issued a statement proclaiming that the “purpose” of a business in 2019 was no longer to look out merel