The message is clear. Pope Francis on Sunday, September 19, asked in a video the Catholic clergy of Central and Eastern Europe to take “Concrete reform measures” to prevent sexual abuse. It thus kicked off a conference on the subject co-organized by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Polish Bishops’ Conference. It brings together representatives from around twenty countries in Warsaw.
The Polish Church has been rocked for years by a series of sexual abuse scandals in a country where the Catholic religion continues to exercise strong political influence. Since last year, the Vatican has already sanctioned eight Polish bishops and a cardinal, accused of covering up acts of sexual abuse that have come to their knowledge.
Some 368 testimonies of sexual abuse committed by the Catholic clergy have been sent to the Polish church since 2018, the latter announced in June.
“Listen to the cry of the victims”
In a video message to the conference on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of “Crisis” by evoking the “Serious problem” sexual abuse in the Church.
“Our expressions of sorrow must be converted into concrete reform measures to both prevent further abuse and restore confidence that our efforts will lead to real and genuine change.”, added the Sovereign Pontiff.
“I encourage you to listen to the cry of the victims and to devote yourselves, among yourselves and to society at large, to these important discussions because they concern the future of the Church in Central Europe and eastern “, said the Argentine Pope.
This conference, which will end on Wednesday, will also hear the testimony of victims and people involved in the protection of minors.