In his first public statement regarding the child sex abuse scandal that is at the core of the Church's issues, Pope Francis calls for decisive action in child sex abuse cases.
A Vatican statement said the Pope had urged Bishop Mueller to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty".However, I join with other advocates for children in saying actions truly do speak louder than words. I have hope in that this Pope appears to be one who lets his actions speak for him - who has routinely broken with tradition and seems to be a Pope of the people - but this is one subject that he MUST be decisive about as its effects are far reaching and even far more painful to those who suffered at the hands of abusive priests and a culture of cover-up for years.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) responded to the statement by calling for actions rather than words.
"We can't confuse words with actions," SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris told the BBC. "When we do, we hurt kids.
Australia Setting the tone?
A comission in Australia has begun investigating child sexual abuse within that country and are expected to hear from over 5000 victims, some of whom were abused within the Catholic Church.
PM Julia Gillard has warned that the commission will unearth "some very uncomfortable truths".Prime Minister Gillard is a true advocate for victims, stating this should be a "moment of healing" for the survivors of child sexual abuse - "because for too long, so many of these survivors have just run into closed doors and closed minds...We've let children down in the past as a country. We need to learn what we can do as a nation to better protect our children in the future."
She said that its opening was an "important moral moment" for Australia.
The inquiry will look at religious groups, NGOs and state care providers as well as government agencies.
But commission officials have warned that it is unlikely to complete its task by the end of 2015 as requested.
They say that is because the scope of the inquiry is so large - in relation to the number of people testifying and the number of institutions who may be affected by the allegations.
However, one thing that looks to be certain is that the Church didn't want to acknowledge this problem:
Catholic Church leaders in Australia were contributing to the ostracism and scapegoating of child sex abuse victims, showing little leadership and little ''will to know'', the inquiry into how churches handled sex abuse has heard.
Irish Fleeing the Church
In a large part due to the child sexual abuse and cover up within Ireland, many parishoners are turning away from the church and this is affecting the Catholic Church's once stronghold in that country.
According to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, in 1984, nearly 90 percent of Irish Catholics went to weekly Mass. In 2011, only 18 percent did.
A series of church-based and government investigations in the south revealed widespread abuse of children as well as illicit heterosexual relationships extending over the last quarter of 20th century. Compounding the problem, offending priests had been reassigned by bishops, seeking to cover up or ignore problems.
The revelations were particularly painful for a population that revered priests and saw the church as its social bedrock.
"Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe."
I attribute the above quote to our very own MeteorBlades - but it is true. Pope Francis must ACT - we've had enough words from the Church. In fact, the last Pope spent a good part of his tenure on the apology tour. Now is the time for decisive action, as this Pope seems to be calling for
AustraliaThe Church's "humiliation" does nothing to heal victims. Holding accountable pedophile priests help validate victims of child sexual abuse. Opening up the secret files of allegations of child sexual abuse help victims in their healing, by pressing charges against those who so callously stole their youth and betrayed their trust. Reporting to police EVERY ALLEGATION of child sexual abuse helps victims heal. Weeding out predators from among your midsts helps victims heal. Actions, not words, help those who most desperately need it. Protecting children rather than clergy prevents future children from becoming victims.
During a visit to Australia in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI met some of the victims and made a public apology for the abuse.
In 2010, Pope Benedict apologized to the Irish Church, admitting there had been “serious mistakes.” But victims’ groups felt the statement did not go far enough in accepting responsibility or positing change.
Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday he was ashamed of the "unspeakable" sexual abuse of children by priests, telling the British faithful during mass in Westminster Cathedral that he was deeply sorry and hoped the church's humiliation would help victims heal.