There is scant doubt that Pope Francis inherited a mess that each day grows in size and complexity. Upon becoming Pope, he had to confront the issue of sexual abuse upon the part of priests. It was never his mess, but unless the new Pope reacted with firmness and fairness he risked alienating millions of Catholics who had never recovered from the continual non-stop reports of crimes against young people by priests. In, most probably, his strongest confrontation with the problem, Pope Francis was blunt, was honest, and promised action against those who had abused children as well as against those who knew, but pretended to be ignorant. The Pope stated in blunt terms: “before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and crimes of clerical abuse committed against you.” He went on to promise that the Church must “make reparation” to those who were abused.
Not only did Pope Francis take on priests who were guilty of abusing children, he also confronted members of the church hierarchy who remained silent. According to Pope Francis, “sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members as well as by abuse victims” must now be dealt if these horrible crimes are to be resolved. From now on, those who assume leadership positions must understand that failing to act makes one as guilty as those who acted without regard to human decency.