Pope Francis Apologizes for Evil
QUEBEC CITY — For the first time during his weeklong tour of Canada, Pope Francis on July 28 apologized for the “evil” of clergy sex abuse, vowing that Catholic Church leaders must pledge to “never again” allow such atrocities to occur.
“Together with you, I would like once more to ask forgiveness of all the victims,” said Francis. “The pain and the shame we feel must become an occasion for conversion: never again!”
Since arriving in the country July 24, Francis has apologized on several occasions for the abuse that Indigenous children suffered at Catholic-run residential schools, as well as the church’s adoption of policies that stripped away Native culture and customs, but had not specifically singled out sexual abuse, subjecting him to criticism from some survivors.
Here in the capital city of Quebec on the second to last day of his visit, the pope said that responding to the sexual abuse scandals requires “firm action and an irreversible commitment.”
While the pope offered a blanket apology for all sexual abuse against “minors and vulnerable people,” he did not specifically single out Indigenous victims. His apology, however, was immediately followed by a direct mention of the ongoing “process of healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.”
“Never again can the Christian community allow itself to be infected by the idea that one culture is superior to others, or that it is legitimate to employ ways of coercing others,” the pope said.
Francis’ remarks came during a vespers service in the 19th-century Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame de Québec with the country’s Catholic hierarchy, priests and religious men and women.