Pope Francis Condemns Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…But are his Words Enough?

This past Friday, newsworthy Pope Francis resolutely condemned sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church, and while we at WeWillSpeakOut.US applaud him for his stance and willingness to speak out, we question whether his words are sufficient to address the immeasurable trauma that has been inflicted on the church.

He asked for forgiveness from victims who experienced sexual abuse as children, and vowed to penalize future perpetrators, but it has yet to be seen whether concrete action will be taken to match the urgency of his words. Though the often-controversial Pope Francis has been known to break from the mold of previous popes, from his views on sexual orientation to critiques of capitalism, we recognize that his stance against sexual abuse in the church is nothing new. His predecessors had also expressed sadness and disapproval of the abuse in their former positions, but mere words counted for little when corresponding actions did not follow. It remains to be seen whether Pope Francis will break the pattern once again and take sufficient action to protect and support the church’s victims and survivors.

At WeWillSpeakOut.US, we encourage anybody and everybody to speak out against sexual and gender based violence, particularly leaders of the church. However, speaking out only goes so far, and it is our actions more than our words that will truly make a difference. So while we ask you to pledge to speak out, and applaud Pope Francis for doing so, we also ask you to recognize that speaking out is only a first step on a long journey towards healing the wounds that have scarred our religious communities. So thank you, Pope Francis, for taking a stance against sexual and gender based violence, but now we ask: What’s next?