The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, released a statement on Thursday and answered questions by journalists about conversations Pope Francis reportedly had with his Jesuit brothers during his apostolic journey to Peru, during which he revealed he engaged in regular meetings with clerical sex abuse victims.
“Pope Francis, said Burke, listens to the victims and tries to help them heal the grave wounds created by the abuse they have undergone. The meetings take place in total respect for the victims and their suffering.”
Speaking to Jesuits during a meeting in Lima, the capital city of Peru, the Pope said that clerical sex abuse is the greatest humiliation for the Church.
He noted that some members of the Church point out that the highest number of pedophiles are to be found within the family, and that the percentage amongst Catholic priests is only of 1.6%.
“But this is terrible – the Pope said – even if it were only one of our brothers! Because he has been ordained to bring holiness to the young and to the not-so-young and he has destroyed them. It is horrible! We must listen to what an abuse victim has to say!”
It was in this circumstance, Greg explained, that Francis told the Peruvian Jesuits that on Fridays he meets with some of them.