We hear these children and their cries of pain; we also hear the cry of the Church our Mother, who weeps not only for the pain caused to her youngest sons and daughters, but also because she recognizes the sins of some of her members: the sufferings, the experiences and the pain of minors who were abused sexually by priests. It is a sin that shames us. Persons responsible for the protection of those children destroyed their dignity. We regret this deeply and we beg forgiveness. We join in the pain of the victims and weep for this sin. The sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power. The Church also weeps bitterly over this sin of her sons and she asks forgiveness. Today, as we commemorate the feast of the Holy Innocents, I would like us to renew our complete commitment to ensuring that these atrocities will no longer take place in our midst. Let us find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated. In this area, let us adhere, clearly and faithfully, to “zero tolerance”.
It appears to me that Pope Francis has "Apuron on the brain." The letter is addressed to bishops and right now there is only one bishop who is at the center of the Catholic world's attention in matters related to the sex abuse of children, there is only one bishop who is on trial in the Vatican, and there is only one bishop who the pope has asked twice now to resign and still he refuses. That's Apuron.
While I welcome the pope's call (again) for zero tolerance, he is appealing for help from the very people who are most responsible for the scandal. While most of the abuse was committed by "priests gone wild," we now know what an integral and secret role the bishops themselves have played in permitting, covering for, and perhaps even cultivating the abuse.
Apuron's refusal to resign in the face of the pope's twice request is an example of just how powerless the pope really is when it comes to exercising administrative authority over bishops. Thus the power to hold bishops to account falls to the people, the laity, the parents whose children and grandchildren were ravaged and wounded by by the very men they entrusted them to.