On his way back to Rome, Pope Francis clarified his views, and intensified his criticism of predator priests and those who protected them.
The “Vat pack” of chosen journalists aboard the papal plane from Philadelphia to Rome was treated to a 47-minute in-flight press conference with Pope Francis that ran the gamut from his amazement at the love fest poured out for him to some pretty tough love for his Church.
Vatican Radio provides a complete transcript of the inflight presser and Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider provides a succinct analysis. “The Pope talked about clerical sex abuse against minors, saying he understands those families that cannot forgive,” Tornielli writes. “He spoke about the issue of communion for remarried divorcees and the recent reform on marital nullity, explaining that it does not equate to ‘Catholic divorce.’”
The pontiff even touched on religious freedom regarding a question that alluded to, but did not specifically name Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis’s conscientious objection and refusal to sign same sex marriage licenses. “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right,” Francis said, according to the Vatican Radio transcript. “It is a human right.”
On the subject of clerical sex abuse, which Pope Francis addressed at length during a mass with American bishops in Philadelphia, the pope told reporters aboard the plane, “I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good,” he said.
“Instead this is squashed and this is nearly a sacrilege and he betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord. For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, It is a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ” Don’t worry that was nothing… no, no, no even some bishops who covered this up, It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say; don’t worry that was nothing…no, no , no, but it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard’… that was the sense of what I meant and today I spoke strongly.”
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SOURCE: Barbie Latza Nadeau
The Daily Beast