VATICAN CITY (AP) — Some advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse are dismissing today's directive from Pope Francis as just more talk.
But others are holding out hope that the new pontiff might be challenging the Vatican's bureaucratic culture, seen as fostering a cover-up mentality.
The pontiff today told the Vatican to act decisively on clergy sex abuse cases and to punish pedophile priests. He said the church's "credibility" is on the line.
The Vatican announcement followed the pope's meeting today with the head of the office that shapes and enforces policy on what to do about abuse allegations. The Vatican quoted Francis as saying abuse victims were always present "in his attention and in his prayers."
As soon as Francis was elected pope last month, clergy abuse victims called for swift and bold action. But in his homeland, Roman Catholic activists had described Francis as being slow to act against such abuse when he headed the Argentine church.
An official with the U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said of today's statement, "Big deal." Barbara Dorris said it's just the latest example of a top Catholic official asking another top Catholic official to take action against abuse.
199-c-15-(Frances D'Emilio, AP correspondent)-"to protect minors"-AP correspondent Frances D'Emilio reports that Pope Francis has told Vatican officials that the church needs to step up its response to clergy sex abuse. (The office referred to is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for shaping and enforcing policy on what to do about abuse allegations and what happens to the abusers.) (5 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *199 (04/05/13)>> 00:15 "to protect minors"
201-c-17-(Frances D'Emilio, AP correspondent)-"a vague statement"-AP correspondent Frances D'Emilio reports Pope Francis seems to want tougher action against clergy sex abuse. (5 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *201 (04/05/13)>> 00:17 "a vague statement"