Pope Francis Vows to End Abuse Within the Catholic Church

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By Jessica Easthope

The Holy Father is leading the charge in seeking to erase former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s mark on the Catholic Church. After a report on the decades of misconduct at the hands of McCarrick was released by the Vatican, Nov. 10, Pope Francis is emphasizing the Church’s commitment to stamping out abuse.

“Yesterday the report on the painful case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published,” the Holy Father said on Nov. 11. “I renew my closeness to victims of all forms of abuse, and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil.”

Pope Francis has done more than any of his predecessors to stand with victims and eliminate abuse in the Catholic Church.

In addition to ordering the report on evidence of McCarrick’s abuse and laicizing the now 90-year-old former Cardinal, to date, Pope Francis has established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, holding a meeting with the world’s Bishops following the allegations against McCarrick. The pontiff also created a task force to help religious entities revise guidelines to further protect minors from abuse. In December of 2019 he waived the obligation of secrecy for those who have been abused by a priest or church leader and issued a document clarifying procedures on how to hold bishops and religious leaders accountable.

Though he has made many big strides, Pope Francis said we cannot move forward without confident prayer.

“If we do not pray, we will not have the strength to go forward in life,” he said. “Prayer is like the oxygen of life. Prayer draws the presence of the Holy Spirit, who leads us forward. There are dark moments in life, in which faith may seem to be an illusion. However, practicing prayer means accepting even this struggle.”

McCarrick has not been arrested or charged with any crimes. He is reported to be living in an undisclosed community of priests who have been removed from ministry.