Pope Francis: Child Sexual Abuse is ‘Like Celebrating a Black Mass’

By Michael W. Chapman | May 27, 2014 | 2:46 PM EDT

Pope Francis. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – In speaking about how horrible the sexual abuse of children is and how the Catholic Church is following a “zero tolerance” policy in this regard, Pope Francis emphasized that abuse of a minor by a priest is “very serious” and akin to “celebrating a black Mass.”

“When a priest commits abuse, he betrays the Lord’s body,” said Pope Franics, as translated by Vatican Insider.  “A priest must guide children towards sainthood. And the child trusts him. But instead, he abuses him or her. This is very serious. It’s like celebrating a black mass!”

The pontiff made his comments to reporters while flying back from Tel Aviv to Rome on Monday, May 26.  The Pope also talked about three bishops now under investigation for abusing minors and that he will be meeting with abuse victims at Saint Martha’s House, next to the Vatican, in the coming weeks.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston and head of a papal advisory commission on sexual abuse. (AP Photo/Andrew Mendichini)

At that gathering, the Pope will also meet with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads a papal advisory commission on sex abuse. O’Malley, who also oversees the archdiocese of Boston, incidentally earlier this month denounced a Satanic Mass “reenactment” scheduled at Harvard University, a controversial event that was eventually cancelled after widespread media attention and public protests.

“At the moment there are three bishops under investigation,” Pope Francis told reporters on the airplane.  “One has already been convicted and the punishment needs to be decided. There will be no preferential treatment when it comes to child abuse. In Argentina we call those who receive preferential treatment ‘spoilt children.’ There will be no ‘spoilt children’ in this case.”

Sexual abuse “is a very serious problem,” he said. “Instead of steering him or her towards sainthood you create a problem that will stay with him or her for all of his or her life. Soon there will be a Mass with some abuse victims in St. Martha’s House. Then I will hold a meeting with them. A zero tolerance approach needs to be adopted with regards to this issue.”

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman