Can The Pope’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Of Child Abuse Provide Justice For Victims?

Pope Francis has once again come out strongly against the alleged sexual abuse of children by priests, calling it the equivalent of ‘satanic Mass’.

Pope Francis

However, the pope, who has already won the hearts of many with his more liberal approach and unconventional ways, will need to do more than just assure thorough investigations in order to be taken seriously on this hotly-debated issue.

While announcing that he would be meeting with eight abuse victims at the Vatican, Pope Francis warned of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards any clergymen found guilty of abusing children.

"There are no privileges," he told reporters, while headed back to Rome from Jerusalem aboard the papal plane.

"On this issue we must go forward, forward. Zero tolerance," Francis said, calling abuse of children an "ugly" crime that betrays God.

And indeed it is time that the Vatican took steps towards punishing the culprits as there are cynics who say the pope’s meeting with the children is nothing more than a gesture.

David Clohessy, the executive director of the main U.S. victims' group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said it was "just utterly, utterly meaningless."

"The simple truth is this is another gesture, another public relations coup, another nice bit of symbolism that will leave no child better off and bring no real reform to a continuing, scandal-ridden church hierarchy," he asserted.

During his flight back to Rome, Pope Francis revealed that three bishops are being investigated by the Vatican for child abuse; however, he failed to clarify whether the clergymen were being probed for committing the heinous act or covering it up.

It is time for the pope to rise the occasion and silence his critics, who say that the Holy Father has excelled at improving church governance and finance, but his turned a blind eye to the rampant child abuse by the Catholic clergy.

Perhaps after meeting the victims at the Vatican, Pope Francis will step up his efforts to deliver swift justice to these children who have suffered at the hands of people claiming to spread the word of God.

His supporters will undoubtedly have faith in his ability to punish the culprits accordingly. After all, this is the man who has made the church all the more accessible to the average man through his humble actions.

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