Opinions

Pope Francis Addresses Sexual Assault

      Throughout history, there have been many incidents that involved sexual assault against children. Within the last several years, more people are starting to share their experiences and are trying to fight against these tragedies to prevent them from happening again. In the news, we are seeing sexual assault taking place within churches, especially the Catholic church. The information being spread about churches are that church leaders, specifically priests, are sexually assaulting children.

      Recently, Pope Francis made a statement regarding these sexual assaults. As the head of the Catholic church, his statement is meaningful and powerful to many people. He promised that abusers would be brought to justice, by revealing their cover-ups and making the victims the priority. “To those who abuse minors, I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice,” stated Francis.

      His focus during the speech was for abusers to turn themselves in and that these acts against children, especially in churches, were morally wrong. Although he made statements about helping the victims, critiques say that he has not done enough since being elected as Pope in 2013. Some people believe that he needs to do more to stop these abusers, instead of just asking them to turn themselves in.

      In my opinion, there is only so much he can do to prevent abusers from acting violently towards children. He is a public figure for many people, and his job is to encourage people to speak up and against these horrific acts. He needs to influence people to see the problem for what it is, and to know that it cannot be stopped without the help of others.

      Although, as some people say, the abusers are unlikely to turn themselves in just because the Pope demanded it, there may be more to the message. I believe that the people listening to him will feel encouraged by these words. They will feel a sense of peace, knowing that someone who is in charge of their church, is trying to end sexual assault.

      They too will be encouraged to help end these crimes and be more willing to speak up about it after hearing the Pope do it himself. These kinds of crimes are not an easy fix. However, I believe that the only way to make progress is to get more people on board to help stop the issue. The Pope did just that by allowing others to hear what he had to say about the sexual assaults happening in his churches across the world.

      Sources: BBC, Washington Post

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