Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Benedict XVI says he attended meeting to discuss abusive priest Pope notes 'rising tensions' in Ukraine, calls for talks Pope promises justice for abuse victims day after Ratzinger report MORE on Wednesday pledged to eliminate sexual abuse in the Catholic Church following the Vatican’s report about ex-U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
“Yesterday, the report about the painful case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published. I renew my closeness to the victims of every abuse and the commitment of the Church to uproot this evil,” Francis said in a weekly address, according to Reuters. He then paused to pray silently in his first public comments since the report was made public.
The 461-page report released Tuesday found that the late Pope John Paul II was warned about McCarrick, who was later defrocked amid sexual abuse allegations, ahead of his promotion in the Catholic Church.
While it did not directly blame the past three popes for knowingly protecting McCarrick, it did state “Pope John Paul II personally made the decision to appoint McCarrick” despite obtaining a letter from Cardinal John O’Connor that detailed several sexual misconduct allegations involving the former cardinal.
The Vatican concluded that Pope John Paul II was given “inaccurate and incomplete information” from three of four American bishops after he requested a probe into the allegations against McCarrick.
However, Francis quoted John Paul II during his remarks on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported, noting that it was Poland’s independence day.
“While we thank the Lord for the gift of national and personal freedom, what St. John Paul II taught young people comes to mind,” Francis said, according to AP. He then hailed the pope, saying to be free means being “a man of upright conscience, to be responsible, to be a man ‘for others.’ ”