April 03, 2005

Pope's handling of sex abuse criticized

The News Journal

By BETH MILLER / The News Journal
04/03/2005Some of Pope John Paul II's suffering in the last days of his life was due to his willingness to suffer with Christ for the sins of the world, including the sins of the priests who sexually abused children during his ministry, a Dover psychiatrist said.

It was a scandal that grieved the pope and violated the spiritual principles he taught, said Dr. Mark Borer, who serves on the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington's Review Board that examines sexual abuse cases in the diocese.

Some victims of clergy sexual abuse, though, believe the pope's response to the scandal that emerged publicly in the United States in 2002 was inadequate at best, and at worst compounded their injury.

"He certainly hasn't done anything for the healing of victims," said Gary Belkot, 48, of Georgetown, who said he was abused as a seminary student at Villanova University in the mid-1970s.

The pope drew criticism for what was perceived as silence shortly after the scandal broke in January 2002, when the first of more than 10,000 cases nationwide became public. By April, though, he had summoned U.S. cardinals to the Vatican for a summit on the issue. In a joint statement, the pope and cardinals acknowledged the gravity of the problem, urged "solidarity and assistance" for victims and their families, said they would promote correct moral teaching on the issue and affirmed the power of conversion and turning from sin.

Posted by kshaw at April 3, 2005 09:29 AM