ORGANIZING COMMITTEE MEETS VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEX ABUSE
Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office stated this afternoon that, “as was announced during the course of the press conference on February 18 in the Holy See Press Office, this morning the Organizing Committee for the Meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church’ met a group of representatives of victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
“There were 12 people, men and women, from different parts of the world who belong to various organizations. The meeting lasted a little bit more than two hours. The members of the Committee are very grateful to the victims who participated for their sincerity, the depth and the strength of their testimonies, which will certainly help them to always better understand the gravity and urgency of the difficulties that they will confront during the course of the meeting.”
ABUSE SURVIVOR SPEAKS OF MEETING WITH SUMMIT ORGANIZERS
February 19, 2019 CNA/EWTN News).- Juan Carlos Cruz, a clerical sex abuse whistleblower and a victim of Fr. Fernando Karadima, will meet with bishops and with fellow victims of clergy sexual abuse Wednesday, one day before the start of a Vatican summit on the topic.
“I am very proud that I am entrusted with such a task,” Cruz said, according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
The summit is a result of months of revelations of clerical sex abuse scandal in the United States and other countries. One of the most high-profile cases in the United States involved Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, who was publicly accused last year of sexually abusing at least two adolescent boys, and of engaging for decades in coercive sexual behavior toward priests and seminarians.
McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis last weekend, just days before the summit.
Scicluna’s trip resulted in a 2,300-page report, the laicization of multiple priests and bishops, the en masse proffering of all Chilean bishops’ resignation, and a major “mea culpa” from Pope Francis, who had originally expressed doubts about the allegations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros.
Pope Francis met privately last May with Cruz and fellow whistleblowers and abuse survivors James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo. The pope expressed his apologies and sorrow for having been “part of the problem” and resolved to do better on abuse.
Cruz told La Tercera that the meeting will be “very important for the Catholic world, for many people. This is a meeting where many people in the world should give their testimony, which is impossible because of the volume.”
Instead, Cruz said, there will be a group of 12 people to give voice to this issue and to impress its seriousness on the leaders of the Church.
“I sincerely hope that the Church will take it for what it is, something very serious…it deserves zero tolerance once and for all,” he added. “These people [the abusers] cannot hide in the institution anymore.”
Cruz also expressed doubts about Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago and president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, who is representing Chile at the meeting.
Cruz told La Tercera that Bishop Ramos “has no empathy with the Chilean victims and I do not know what his contribution can be in this important meeting.”
There will be 190 participants in the Vatican summit, most of whom are presidents of national bishops’ conferences.