Thursday, June 21, 2018 | ePaper

Five years on, Pope under fire over sex abuse scandals

  • Print


AFP, Vatican City  :
As Pope Francis marks the fifth year of his papacy next week, the pontiff once hailed as a fearless reformer is under fire for his handling of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
Since taking over in March 2013, the 81-year-old Argentinian has championed the cause of the marginalised, saying he wanted a "poor church for the poor" and shunning papal palaces and ostentatious displays of wealth.
His reform agenda has introduced the possibility in certain cases to allow divorced and remarried believers to take communion, although he still agrees with the Church's traditional positions on other issues, such as abortion, artificial contraception and gay marriage.
But the sex abuse scandals have haunted his papacy and last month the Vatican announced it was reviving its anti-paedophile panel.
A trip to Chile in January was seen as a resounding failure after he defended a bishop accused of covering up the crimes of a paedophile priest.
Francis, who like his predecessor Benedict XVI, promised a "zero tolerance" approach to sexual abuse, sparked uproar when he said: "The day they bring me proof against Bishop (Juan) Barros, then I will speak."
But he later apologised to the victims and sent a Vatican top expert on sex abuse to hear the witnesses in the case.
·    'Repeating mistakes of the past' -

Marie Collins of Ireland, who was raped as child by a priest, told AFP that while it might be "human nature to want to defend your institution... the Church, instead of learning from the past, is repeating the mistakes of the past."
"The Church tends to make the same mistake-in every country where survivors start to come forward, they are treated in the same way," said Collins, who resigned last year from the now revived anti-paedophilia commission.
Francis was similarly lenient towards Don Mauro Inzoli, an Italian priest nicknamed "Don Mercedes" for his expensive tastes.
Don Inzoli had been effectively defrocked by Benedict, but Francis overturned that ruling, mitigating his sentence to "a life of prayer."
Nevertheless, after the priest was sentenced to nearly five years in prison in Italy for sex abuse of adolescents last June, the pope dismissed him of clerical duties.

More News For this Category

China-N Korea joint efforts to bring peace, stability in Korean peninsula, hopes Xi

China-N Korea joint efforts to bring peace, stability in Korean peninsula, hopes Xi

Reuters, Beijing : Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday that with the joint efforts of the two countries, the Korean peninsula will definitely

Pope criticises Trump’s policy on migrant family separation

Reuters, Vatican City :Pope Francis has criticized the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying populism is not the answer to the world's immigration problems.Speaking

May faces new battle in parliament over Brexit

May faces new battle in parliament over Brexit

Reuters, London :Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown with rebels in her Conservative Party on Wednesday after refusing to accept demands for parliament to have a "meaningful vote" on

Trump urges Republicans to fix family separation crisis

Trump urges Republicans to fix family separation crisis

US President Donald Trump told Republican lawmakers on Tuesday he backed their efforts to craft an immigration solution that ends the politically toxic practice of separating families on the US-Mexico

Over 7,000 people from India sought asylum in US in 2017 : UN

Over 7,000 people from India sought asylum in US in 2017 : UN

AFP, United Nations :Over 7,000 people from India filed applications for asylum in the US last year, according to a report by the UN refugee agency which said America was

News in brief

180 missing in Indonesia ferry disaster AFP, SimalungunNearly 180 passengers are missing after a ferry sank into the depths of a volcanic lake in Indonesia, police said Wednesday, almost tripling

 US won`t be made a migrant camp

US won`t be made a migrant camp

President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" as he faced mounting pressure to stop families being separated as a deterrent to

Kim Jong in China to discuss next steps on nukes

Kim Jong in China to discuss next steps on nukes

AP, Beijing :North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is making a two-day visit to Beijing starting Tuesday in which he's expected to discuss with Chinese leaders his next steps after

Record 68.5m people displaced worldwide : UN

Record 68.5m people displaced worldwide : UN

AFP, Geneva :A record 68.5 million people have been forced flee their homes due to war, violence and persecution, notably in places like Myanmar and Syria, the UN said on

Marriage is good for the heart: Study

Marriage is good for the heart: Study

AP, Paris :Even if marriage is sometimes more a bed of nails than roses, living into old age with a partner may help ward off heart disease and stroke, researchers