The directness and urgency with which Pope Francis addressed the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy during his May 26 talk with journalists is encouraging. His decision to meet with victims of clergy sex abuse is also a clear signal that Francis understands the gravity of this issue in a way that was not clear earlier. While we understand, and to some extent share, the concerns of victims’ groups that the meeting and Mass with victims could be little more than media theater, we have more hope for the gathering. Francis has given us reason to believe that his pastoral instincts will guide him and that the outcome of this encounter will bring the church to a new place in this decades-long tragedy.”
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