In a summit discussing issues of abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis said he said “the cry of the little ones seeking justice” had to be heard.
Details of sexual abuse have emerged across the world and the Church has been accused of covering up crimes.
Survivors say new safeguarding protocols are needed to protect minors, for example, having previously guilty Bishops removed.
What has the Pope said?
In a short opening statement for the four-day summit at the Vatican, the 82-year-old pontiff said he wanted to “reach out” to victims after being made aware of “the scourge of sexual abuse committed by men of the Church against minors”.
“The holy people of God look at us and await from us not simple and obvious condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to put into place. Concreteness is required.
Pope Francis described the child sexual abuse scandal engulfing the Catholic church as ‘the work of the devil’ and offending priests ‘the tools of Satan’ and vowed to protect children from the ‘ravenous wolves’.
Activists however urged Pope to put down a concrete plan of how this would be done.
How is the Church addressing the abuse?
Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle told the summit clerical abuse took place because of a misuse of power.
As the event started, one of its four organisers – Archbishop of Mumbai Oswald Gracias, one of the Church’s most senior cardinals – admitted that he could have better handled allegations that were brought to him.
Observers argue that implementing universal protocols is challenging because the Church exists in a range of cultures and judicial systems.
Although progress has been made in some countries, in other places it is still not considered to be a priority. Some churches in Asia and Africa, in particular, even deny the problem exists.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 24, 2019
What can we in Mosques learn from this?
Previous unions between Imams and Mosques have been made, coordinating khutbas to discussing and denouncing abuse. But this this being done enough? Is there enough public discussions and stigma around this issue.
This particular imam called out sexual abuse in the Mosque from from Friday sermon, but how many are doing this more regularly? It is a difficult and challenging topic to talk about- but that is not a good enough reason to avoid it.
Safeguarding of all vulnerable members of congregations is essential, no one should be at risk of abuse in intending to worship God.