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Pope Francis on the Issue of Child Abuse and Zero Tolerance

April 8, 2015 ·  By Emer McCarthy for Vatican Radio

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In a wide-ranging interview with Valentina Alazraki, from the Mexican broadcaster Televisa, Pope Francis has marked the second year of his pontificate by addressing the hot topics that have dominated public discourse since his election to the papacy.

On the issue of child abuse and zero tolerance of the phenomenon.

The Pope replies that the Commission [for the Protection of Minors, which he set up in 2013 – ed] is not about abuse but for the protection of minors. That is, prevention. The problem of abuse is a grave one, with most cases of abuse occurring in the family sphere or involving other people who are known to them.

Even one priest committing abuse is sufficient reason to mobilize all structures of the Church to confront the problem. Indeed, it is a priest’s duty to nurture a little boy or girl in holiness and in their encounter with Jesus and what they [abusers, -ed] do is destroy this encounter with Jesus. Francis talks about the importance of listening to victims and speaks of his experience of meeting with 6 survivors of abuse in the Vatican.

The Pope says the interior destruction that they experience is devastating and even one priest who is guilty is enough to make us all ashamed and commit to doing all that is possible. Pope Francis also acknowledges Benedict XVI’s courage in publicly stating it is a crime to destroy an innocent creature with such actions and Pope Saint John Paul II’s in having started the work of reporting such crimes.

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