In the face of allegations that 1,000 children or more suffered sexual abuse at the hands of some 300 Pennsylvania predator priests over the past 70 years, the Vatican offered only a terse “No comment at this time,” according to The Daily Beast and other outlets on Thursday.
“We have no comment at this time,” said the deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, Paloma Overjero, on Wednesday, as CNN reported.
No comment — none?
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The puzzling (at best) nonresponse left many of the faithful stunned and speechless.
Others were able to find some words to express their profound disappointment, confusion, and even anger of those who are horrified by the shameful revelations and are desperately seeking guidance from church leaders.
I rebuke the clergy and our Pope for allowing this evil to fester and grow.
I rebuke the clergy and our Pope for not eradicating this evil with single-minded, holy determination.
I rebuke the ecclesial hierarchy for utterly failing its flock.
— Elizabeth Esther (@elizabethesther) August 16, 2018
Though the Vatican offered no comment, breaking news from BBC News correspondent Emma Vardy indicates that Pope Francis himself is planning to address the matter directly.
Vardy tweeted early Thursday afternoon that the pope “is expected to meet victims who were sexually abused by Catholic priests during his visit to Dublin next week.”
She cited the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland as the source of the important news.
Breaking: Pope Francis is expected to meet victims who were sexually abused by Catholic priests, during his visit to Dublin next week, says the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland
— Emma Vardy (@EmmaVardyTV) August 16, 2018
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The accounts of abuse were detailed in a redacted, 1,356-page report of a Pennsylvania grand jury on Tuesday in which the alleged abusers are identified.
The report also implicates the Catholic Church in a cover-up of the atrocious, alleged crimes.
The faithful look to Pope Francis for guidance on how the church and its parishioners should respond to the sins of its own that were hidden in every Pennsylvania diocese — save two — for decades.
We need to listen to the words of the victims and hear their stories, their pain, their histories. It is the only thing to do. It is the only way to face head-on what has occurred — and be better, and far, far better, going forward.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.