Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Mass on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the people gathered on the tree-lined boulevard.
Pope Francis this morning met with 5 survivors of sexual abuse during his visit to Philadelphia, telling bishops afterward that the evil acts can no longer remain in silence, and promised his personal vigilance in protecting minors.
In one of his strongest comments to date on a scandal that has dogged the Church for decades, Francis said abuse by priests was “nearly a sacrilege” and “those who have hidden (such acts) are guilty – including a few bishops”. “And a few bishops covered this up, and it is a very ugly thing”.
“God weeps for the sexual abuse of children”, he said.
Instead, “I felt the need to express compassion because something really bad happened”.
This isn’t the first time Francis discussed the plight of immigrants during his visit, either.
The Catholic Church will be efficient in fighting and preventing “crimes of abuse”, he added. “Youth are protected and… all responsible will be held accountable“. “Freedom of conscience must be respected in every judicial structure”.
“So I have no doubt that Pope Francis would love to come to Ireland”.
“What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people so lovable”.
“May you make possible new opportunities, new journeys, new paths”, he said, standing before a wooden chair the inmates had made for him for the occasion.
While in Philadelphia, the pope called victims “true heralds of mercy”.
“We learned that we’re all hurting in certain ways, we’re all wounded, but the Holy Father is the first to say, all for forgiveness, all for mercy, and that love of Christ that bonds us together is the hope that we want to take back to Indianapolis”, Doug Bauman said.
Francis also had high praise for USA nuns, who had been under an investigation launched by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, but which Francis ended this year. “It’s the best thing in the world that I get to meet him”, said Porrett who is serving for dealing cocaine.
A few area Catholics said Francis’ visit to the United States was impressive.
In his homily at the September 24 vespers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral the Pope acknowledged they had come out of the period of “great tribulation”, and reminded them that their vocation is to be lived out with joy. “I am fortunate. I can visit my family once a year, but others never see their families again”.