Pope Francis promised to crack down on child sex abusers, and the bishops who protect them, in the foreword of a new book published Wednesday.
Francis wrote the foreword for “Father, I Forgive You: Abused But Not Broken,” an autobiographical book by Daniel Pittet, according to Reuters. Pittet, a 58-year-old Swiss man, wrote the book as an account of the rape he endured at the hands of a priest beginning at 8 years old and his journey toward forgiving his abuser. Francis, moved by Pittet’s story, wrote that the Church will root out abusers and the clergy who helped hide their crimes.
“We will counter those priests who betrayed their calling with the most strenuous measures. This also applies to the bishops and cardinals who protected these priests — as happened repeatedly in the past,” Francis wrote.
Francis’ call for justice came less than two weeks after investigators unveiled a massive abuse scandal in the Catholic Church of Guam that rivaled the Boston church abuse cases. Some survivors of abuse within the Church have criticized Francis over his lack of progress in stamping out abuse since he became pope in 2013.
Peter Saunders, a sexual abuse survivor and member of a Vatican council formed in 2014 to help Francis combat child abuse, protested a lack of cooperation from the Vatican in 2016 by taking a leave of absence. Marie Collins, also a survivor of church sex abuse, quit the council in March for the same reason.
“Forgiveness does not heal the wounds or wipe away the misery … forgiving him has allowed me to burst the chains that bound me to him and prevented me from living,” Pittet wrote in his book.
The Church defrocked the priest that abused Pittet.
Francis has yet to announce any new, concrete plans, in conjunction with his renewed promise, for putting an end to child abuse within the Church.
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