Pope Francis acknowledges 2,000-case backlog in sex abuse cases

SHARE Pope Francis acknowledges 2,000-case backlog in sex abuse cases
portugal_pope_68787413.jpg

Pope Francis addresses journalists during the traditional press conference on his flight back to Rome, following a two-day visit in Portugal May 13, 2017. | Tiziana Fabi/Pool Photo via AP

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis acknowledged Saturday that the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases and says criticism of the slow pace was justified. But he says more staff are being added and insists the Vatican is “on the right path.”

Francis was making his first comments about the criticism leveled at the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases by Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission in March. Collins quit because of what she said was the “unacceptable” level of resistance within the Vatican to implementing the group’s proposals to better care for victims and protect children from priests who rape and molest them.

Speaking to reporters while flying home Saturday from a trip to Portugal, Francis called Collins “a great woman” and said she was “a bit right” to complain about the slow pace in processing cases.

“Marie Collins was right on that point. But we are on the right path, as there were 2,000 cases backlogged,” he said.

Francis didn’t respond to the other issues raised by Collins, including the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — which handles abuse cases — to create a tribunal to judge bishops who covered up for pedophile priests. Instead, he focused on explaining why cases can take so long to process.

To improve efficiency, he said he had added more staff to the congregation and that talks were underway about providing more regional help to bishops to ensure their cases are properly documented before they arrive at the Vatican for review.

He denied he had ever agreed to a request for clemency from a pedophile priest, saying once a sentence is confirmed on appeal by the congregation “it is finished.”

Francis has come under fire from some survivors and their advocates for his handling of the abuse crisis.

He won praise for having created the advisory commission and for promising “zero tolerance” for abuse. But his advisory board has lost credibility following Collins’ departure and its failure to implement key recommendations that even Francis had approved.

The Latest
Despite the cold and snow, attendees in red sashes and rabbit ears enjoyed the festivities and wished each other a happy new year.
Responding officers found the boy with a gunshot wound behind a building in the 15500 block of South Cicero Avenue.
Philp, a 27-year-old journeyman forward, earned his first NHL point Thursday in Calgary — with his family in attendance — but was scratched Saturday in Edmonton.
The two-time WNBA champion took meetings with the Sparks, Sky and Aces before making her decision.
Some fed-up consumers are posting rants on social media complaining about tip requests at drive-thrus, while others say they’re tired of being asked to leave a gratuity for a muffin or a simple cup of coffee at their neighborhood bakery.