As we begin Holy Week, Pope Francis modeled for all Christians the way of humility and what it means to take up the cross and bear the sin – actual sin – of the church and the world.
In unscripted remarks to the France-based International Catholic Child Bureau, the Pope took responsibility for the harm done by priests against children in the pedophilia scandal. While other popes have castigated the abusers and prayed for the victims, none have take personal responsibility. Pope Francis said:
“I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm that some priests – quite a number, but not in proportion to the total – I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children. The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church. And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.”