“The time has come to work together to eradicate the evil of abuse by adopting every necessary measure already in force on the international and ecclesial levels”.
Pope Francis made this comment in his concluding address to some 190 bishops at the end of the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church, held from 21st to 24th February 2019 in Rome.
“I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas, on the part of all authorities and individuals, for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth”, Pope Francis said.
Statistics, according to Pope Francis, indicates that those who perpetrate abuse; physical, sexual or emotional violence, are primarily parents, relatives, husbands of child brides, coaches and teachers and that the phenomenon is even more serious and more scandalous when it happens in the Church, which is supposed to be an authority on moral and ethical issues.
“In abuse, we see the hand of the evil one that does not spare even the innocence of children” and no explanation suffices for abuses involving children, Pope Francis stressed.
The Pope applauded the “best practices” formulated under the guidance of the World Health Organization, by a group of ten international bodies that developed and approved a packet of measures called INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children.
Pope Francis used the opportunity to offer his appreciation to all those priests and consecrated persons who serve the Lord faithfully and totally, and who feel themselves dishonoured and discredited by the shameful conduct of some of their confreres. He also thanked the faithful, “who are well aware of the goodness of their pastors and who continue to pray for them and to support them”.