Pope Francis salutes the pilgrims in the Vatican on 15 August 2018 (AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE)
The Vatican Thursday he pressed are "shame" and "hurt" after the revelation in Pennsylvania, in the Northeastern United States, of sexual abuse perpetrated on more than a thousand children by hundreds of priests over decades.
"The victims must know that the pope is on their side, those who have suffered are his priority and the church wants to listen to them to eradicate this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent," said the Holy One. Chair. a press release.
"Two words can express how we feel about these terrible crimes: shame and pain," the Vatican said.
An investigation by the Pennsylvania Public Prosecutor's Office, which was released on Tuesday, revealed sexual abuse by more than 300 "predatory priests & # 39; and was covered by the Catholic Church of that state, of which at least a thousand children were the victims.
This is not the first time that a popular jury has published a report with cases of pedophilia in the American Catholic Church, but a survey has never revealed so many cases.
"Priests raped boys and girls and the church people who were their leaders did not do anything for decades", wrote the judges.
"The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally incorrect" and "robbed victims of their dignity and their faith," says the Vatican.
However, he notes that most of the cases mentioned were before the beginning of the 2000s, when a series of scandals forced the American Church to implement "drastic reforms".
– "Vigilance" –
The Holy See "encourages ongoing reform and vigilance at all levels of the Church to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults." He also stressed the need to comply with civil law, including the obligation to report cases of abuse of minors ".
The final report, written by a popular jury, to which the findings of the investigation were submitted, indicates that "almost all cases" that are claimed today are time-barred and can not be prosecuted.
In the US criminal proceedings, the Public Prosecutor can present facts to a popular jury, who will decide whether or not there is a reason for prosecution.
Two priests were still charged, one for repeated assault of several children, the most recent of which date back to 2010.
The other priest, accused of maltreatment of a 7-year-old child, pleaded guilty at the end of July, but the charge is a crime and not a crime and is only punishable by five years. maximum imprisonment.
Although they are no longer prone to persecution, the jurors also chose to announce the names of dozens of churchgoers accused of pedophilia through elements of the investigation.
The report refers to sexual attacks of which some alleged victims were less than ten years old.
He quotes the case of a priest who mistreated five sisters, the youngest of whom was only 18 months old at the beginning of the alleged facts.
Many of the facts in the report show a hierarchy that often followed an active approach not to hear about cases of sexual abuse and to protect the perpetrators of these abuses.
Bishops and cardinals "are largely protected Many of them have been promoted, some of whom are mentioned in this report, and as long as it does not change, we find it too early to close the chapter of the sex scandals of the Catholic Church. 39;
Pope Francis during his weekly audience at the Vatican, 1 August 2018 (AFP / Andreas SOLARO)
End July Pope Francis the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, who was accused of sexual abuse of a teenager.
Several other high prelates were forced to resign because they had closed their eyes, including the cardinals Roger Mahony (Los Angeles) and Bernard Law (Boston), who died in late 2017.
The actions of Archbishop Law were central to an extensive investigation into Boston Globe, which received the Pulitzer Prize before the subject of a film, "Spotlight", crowned by the Oscars of the Best film and the best scenario in 2016.