Following a proposal from his “child protection panel,” Pope Francis announced a plan this Monday for a worldwide “day of prayer” for victims of childhood sexual abuse.
According to reports, the request for the day of prayer was made by an abuse survivor.
“The commission believes that prayer is one part of the healing process for survivors and the community of believers,” the Vatican said in a statement. “Public prayer is also an important way of consciousness raising in the Church.”
After it was launched in 2014, the panel ran into problems when Peter Saunders, a British abuse survivor, slammed it for doing absolutely nothing to combat the culture of secrecy and inaction in the Catholic church regarding child sex abuse.
According to CNN, Saunders clashed with the Vatican’s chief financial officer, Cardinal George Pell, accusing Pell of being”almost sociopathic” when it came to sex abuse cases. The Vatican defended Pell, saying Saunders did not speak on behalf of the Pope’s sexual abuse committee.
Pell himself is accused of groping boys when he was serving as a senior figure in the Australian church.
Since the church is still stalling on handing pedophile priests over to authorities, many see Pope Francis’ prayer solution as an insult to victims.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis was harshly criticized for refusing to meet with the victims of serial abusing former priest Marcial Macial during a visit to Mexico.
According to reports, the Catholic church has paid out over $3 billion in settlements to sex abuse victims as of 2012.
The Vatican is still a legal fortress for anyone suspected of aiding predator priests.
In some cases, survivor advocates say the Rome-based enclave of Vatican City has even served as a literal sanctuary for prelates: Archbishop Josef Weselowski, for instance, was whisked off to the Vatican following allegations that he abused young boys. The move sheltered him from prosecution in the Dominican Republic.
The Pope’s declaration seems to be just another tactic to kick the can down the road in regards to holding priests accountable.
To date, the Catholic Church has relied on its unwavering followers in order to avoid destruction, and a “worldwide day of prayer” seems to be just another way to dupe the faithful into thinking there’s an unearthly way to rectify a very earthly crime.