Pope asks for forgiveness for sex scandals in Vatican, Rome
Vatican City: Pope
Francis asked for forgiveness on Wednesday for scandals at the Vatican and in
Rome, an apparent reference to two cases of priests and gay sex revealed this
month during a major meeting of bishops.
“Today... in the name
of the Church, I ask you for forgiveness for the scandals that have occurred
recently either in Rome or in the Vatican,” the Pope said in unprepared remarks
during his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square.
“I ask you for
forgiveness,” he said before tens of thousands of people, who broke into
The Pope then read his
prepared address and did not elaborate, but there have been two scandals involving
the Vatican and the Church in Rome in the past two weeks.
On October 3, a Polish
monsignor working in the Vatican’s doctrinal office since 2003 held a packed
news conference in which he disclosed that he was gay and had been living with
another man for years.
The Vatican dismissed
Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a theologian, from his job there as well as from
teaching assignments in pontifical universities in Rome.
A spokesman said at the
time that Charamsa’s high-profile coming out on the eve of a meeting of world
bishops at the Vatican was ‘grave and irresponsible’. It accused him of trying
to exert ‘undue media pressure’ on the bishops’ debate on family issues,
including the Church’s position on gays.
After he was fired,
Charamsa gave interviews to Spanish and Italian media in which he criticised
the Church’s rule on celibacy for the clergy.
The Pope also appeared
to be referring to a scandal exposed in the Italian media last week about an
order of priests who run a parish in a well-to-do neighbourhood in Rome.
Parishioners in the
Santa Teresa d'Avila parish wrote to local Church officials alleging that a
clergyman there had had encounters with 'vulnerable adults'. Newspapers said
these took place in an adjacent park often frequented by male prostitutes.
According to the letter
published in the media, parishioners said they had assembled evidence about the
clergyman’s illicit activities and were furious to discover he had been
transferred to another part of Italy instead of being disciplined.
Since his election in
2013, the Pope has asked forgiveness for sexual abuse of the children by the
clergy and for the Church’s treatment of Protestants and indigenous people in
the course of its history. (With inputs from agencies)