Pope Francis has thanked journalists from around the world for their helping uncover the sexual abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Pope appreciated and thanked the journalists for carrying on their “mission” of journalism.
He said it was extremely important that these cases were uncovered and presented in front of the world.
“I thank you for what you tell us about what is wrong in the church, for helping us not to sweep it under the carpet, and for the voice you have given to the abuse victims,” the pope said.
He thanked the journalists for stepping out of the newsrooms to discover and present what was happening around the world. This helps counter misinformation that is spread online these days, he said, and added that “not everything can be told through email, the phone, or a screen.”
Francis was speaking at a ceremony to honour two veteran correspondents – Philip Pullella of Reuters and Valentina Alazraki of Mexico’s Noticieros Televisa – for their long careers spent covering the Vatican.
The sexual abuse scandals hit the headlines in 2002, when US daily The Boston Globe wrote a series of articles exposing a pattern of abuse of minors by clerics and a widespread culture of concealment within the Roman Catholic Church.
Since then, scandals have rocked the Church in myriad countries, most recently France where a major investigation found in October that French clerics had sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.
France’s Catholic Church said it would financially compensate those who were abused by French clergy and other church officials.
Critics accused Francis of responding too slowly to the scandals after he became Pontiff in 2013 and of believing the word of his fellow clergy over that of the abuse victims.
But in 2018 he tried to address past mistakes, publicly admitting he was wrong about a case in Chile and vowing that the Church would never again seek to cover up such wrongdoing.
In 2019 he called for an “all-out battle” against a crime that should be “erased from the face of the earth”.
Pope Francis said journalists had a mission “to explain the world, to make it less obscure, to make those who live in it less fear it”.
(Reuters; Picture: Vatican media handout)