Abuse survivor: I'm glad Pope is speaking out

Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest in Chile, reacts to Pope Francis' letter acknowledging "with shame and repentance" the Catholic Church's failure to act over sexual abuse by clerics against minors.

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 4:06 AM
Updated: Aug 21, 2018 4:14 AM

Dear Pope Francis,

It is hard to be Catholic today. I know you finally spoke out to us -- in a letter -- about the horrific allegations of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses. I've been waiting for days to find comfort from Rome. And you notably began your letter by quoting St. Paul: "If one member suffers, all suffer together with."

While I appreciate the words, I need to see action. I need to see real change.

We are suffering from disappointment so deep it is, for some of us, hard to believe in God. On Sunday, at my church, Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of Loyola Marymount University, Father Allan Deck put it into words: "The emotional and sexual abuse and manipulation of others, especially little children, constitutes a gross rejection of the healthy and holistic love exemplified by Jesus and proposed by our Catholic tradition." (Full disclosure: My husband is President of LMU.)

And then he cautioned, "These terrible reports are not going to stop."

According to The Buffalo News, there are calls for the New York Attorney General to conduct a statewide investigation similar to the Pennsylvania probe. And, if it's anything like Pennsylvania's investigation, it will add more than salt to the wound. It will rip apart our souls even further.

Pope Francis, you say in your letter that you and your soldiers -- priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals -- "showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them," and that "no effort to beg pardon" or "repair the harm done" will ever be sufficient. You are right. For the thousands of victims harmed by the Catholic Church, there is no way to find solace unless unprecedented and thorough measures are taken. And that's a stretch in my book.

I know the alleged abuse in Pennsylvania happened over a period of 70 years, but it feels like it happened yesterday. Yes, the Vatican, according to Father Tom Reese at Georgetown University, implemented a "zero tolerance" policy for "any priest involved in abuse." Father Reese even told HLN last Thursday, "They can never act as a priest again." And, he says, "the Pope has started to hold bishops responsible" for covering up abuse.

Pope Francis, you can prove that by taking action against Cardinal Donald Wuerl. I know he says he fought the church's order to reinstate a pedophile priest before you took the helm, but there are questions about his actions when he was bishop in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro accused Cardinal Wuerl of "not telling the truth." He alleges, "many of (Wuerl's) statements in response to the Grand Jury Report are directly contradicted by the Church's own documents and records from their Secret Archives."

The Cardinal issued a statement denying those allegations. He said, "I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse."

Please, Pope Francis, if Cardinal Wuerl is "not telling the truth," act swiftly, decisively.

There is such beauty in the Catholic faith. I see it every day in the selfless work of Catholic Charities around the world. The service organization provides affordable housing to the poor, aids in disaster relief and helps refugees find solace and legal help in a world that seems decidedly unwelcoming. I see it on the campuses of Jesuit universities that strive to educate young people to not only succeed, but to love one another and to give back to others along the way.

Pope Francis, listen to your church.

If there ever was a moment in our faith's history to begin to make things right, that time is now. This is the time to eject every church official found guilty of abuse or a cover-up.

This is the time to widen your talent pool. Maybe even consider allowing priests to marry or women to become priests. There is nothing other than tradition and a chorus of conservative voices in your ear that tells us these changes cannot be made.

Pope Francis, the time is now.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 151802

Reported Deaths: 4746
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27119607
Cuyahoga17554656
Hamilton13237315
Montgomery7938164
Lucas7343364
Butler6085111
Summit5366252
Warren311549
Marion311147
Mahoning3095281
Stark2913175
Pickaway267944
Lorain233386
Delaware230621
Fairfield213253
Licking194963
Columbiana194080
Wood192172
Trumbull1916132
Clark183940
Clermont174423
Lake164851
Greene149034
Medina147539
Miami146351
Allen146269
Portage116866
Mercer113218
Erie95947
Tuscarawas94120
Wayne94068
Richland92219
Ross89624
Madison84312
Darke80643
Geauga72649
Athens7242
Belmont72427
Hancock72010
Lawrence67122
Ashtabula66048
Shelby66010
Putnam61923
Auglaize6119
Sandusky58020
Huron5557
Union5512
Scioto5167
Seneca48814
Ottawa47130
Preble44515
Muskingum4383
Holmes3959
Jefferson3384
Henry33414
Defiance33012
Champaign3133
Logan3133
Clinton30213
Perry3009
Brown2922
Knox28815
Washington26223
Jackson2616
Morrow2612
Fulton2591
Hardin25713
Crawford2476
Ashland2464
Coshocton23411
Fayette2336
Highland2303
Williams2143
Wyandot21312
Pike2020
Gallia19613
Meigs17610
Guernsey1738
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1364
Van Wert1243
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton473
Noble340
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Angola
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntington
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 46°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Few Showers Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events