Pope Francis refuses to answer allegation of child sex abuse cover-up

By @chelean on
Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018.
Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018. Gregorio Borgia/Pool via Reuters

Pope Francis has refused to respond to an accusation by a former top Vatican official who said the Catholic pontiff had ignored sexual abuse claims against American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The accusation came after the pope has asked for forgiveness to the world for the Catholic Church’s failure to prevent its priests from sexually abusing minors.

In a letter published in the National Catholic Register, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed he had been told of the allegations against McCarrick in 2013, but Francis, instead of condemning McCarrick, allegedly responded by lifting sanctions imposed against the cardinal by Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor.

“He knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,” Vigano wrote. He said that Francis knew that McCarrick was corrupt but he “covered for him to the bitter end.”

While on a plane returning to Rome from Dublin on Sunday, Pope Francis told reporters he would “not say one word” on Vigano’s allegations, saying it already “speaks for itself.”

“I will not say a word about that. I think that the communique speaks for itself,” the pope said when he was questioned by journalists.

Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018. Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018.  Gregorio Borgia/Pool via Reuters

Earlier, the pope, in an unprecedented move, has apologised to Catholics for the child sexual abuse by clerics all over the world. According to the Vatican, his letter was the first of its kind in history, and it came after the US state of Pennsylvania’s grand jury reported more than 300 priests had sexually abused children in seven decades. There have been 1,000 children who were identified, but the number is feared to be a lot more.

“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” he wrote.

The pope has promised “zero tolerance” implementation from then on.

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