Pope Calls For “All-Out Battle” Against Clerical Abuse

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Pope Francis closed an unprecedented Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse by promising to protect children and help victims of what he called a plague of clerical sex abuse, but he offered few policy specifics.

The pope, in his widely awaited closing speech on Sunday, said the church’s response should avoid “defensiveness that fails to confront the causes and effects of these grave crimes.” He also warned against overreaction “provoked by guilt for past errors and media pressure” and emphasized that abuse is a problem in wider society beyond the church.

Shortly after his speech, the Vatican announced that it would soon release new laws to “strengthen prevention and the fight against abuse” within the 110-acre Vatican City and the church’s central bureaucracy in Rome.

The Guardian reports:

Pope Francis said that those who constantly criticize the Catholic church are “friends of the devil”. The pontiff said that defects of the church needed to be denounced so they could be corrected, but that those who condemned “without love” were linked to the devil.

“One cannot live a whole life accusing, accusing, accusing, the church,” he said. People who did, he said, were “the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil”.

The Vatican said it hoped that the meeting would mark a turning point. But people who had survived sexual abuse by priests said the church was nowhere close to confronting the deeply entrenched problem.