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The meeting had been in the works for months, but Pope Francis met this week with French prime minister Jean Castex. Given the devastating report on French-clergy sex abuse made public just two weeks ago, the meeting had to have been awkward. Church Militant's Kristine Christlieb reveals the pope's latest attempt to control the sex abuse narrative.
Pope Francis is urging all seminarians to read a letter from a female sex abuse victim. Cardinal Seán O'Malley, who presides over the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, introduced the letter published on the commission's website, saying the pope "wants to welcome the voice of all wounded people."
While the woman's testimony is universally acknowledged to be credible, powerful and heartfelt, it nevertheless has generated controversy on several levels.
Sexual abuse victim: "This isn't about females or girl things. This is about what has been going on for 50 years — homosexual clergy abusing the boys and seminarians put in their charge."
The recent French report on clergy sex abuse corroborated the 2004 John Jay Report commissioned by U.S. bishops in the wake of the Boston Globe "Spotlight" scandal. Both documents officially reported clergy abuse victims are overwhelmingly male and usually between 11 and 17 years old.
In her letter, the victim urged seminarians, "Please don't sweep things under the rug." With a Vatican leadership skilled in abuse cover-up, this victim's plea is likely to go unheeded. Even though he was aware of Theodore McCarrick's history of sex abuse, O'Malley never insisted on the abuser's removal.