On Friday April 11, 2014, Pope Francis in remarks while addressing a French child protection group, publicly asked forgiveness for the Church in connection to its widespread child sexual abuse scandals.
Speaking for the Catholic Church as a whole body, including Catholics in general, he emphasized the seriousness of the problem and urged the church to be very strong in responding to that element of their most recent and shameful history. He hinted that he would be willing to implement and impose future punitive measures and sanctions against those in the church would commit such crimes or protect the guilty.
Some experts on abuse issues praised the pope’s comments, while others who have been critical of the Catholic Church over the child sex scandals indicated they would take a “wait and see” position. Most admit that the pope’s moves seem to be sincere and in the right direction.
This is a direct link to an article about Pope Francis’ speech as reported by The Boston Globe: Pope takes responsibility for child abuse scandal
Will the Watchtower ever come to their senses and handle child sexual abuse within congregations as crimes? Will they stop fighting “the superior authorities” and follow the intent and meaning of local and state laws when dealing with cases of suspected or confirmed child endangerment by or against their members?
So far, Watchtower leaders are acting more like the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt than the modern pope. That Pharaoh would not relax his mistreatment of his Hebrew slaves and when confronted by Moses and Aaron absolutely refused to let the Hebrews leave the country. The Bible describes his attitude as “hardening” and “stiffening” even when given the clear evidence that dealing with Moses was the right thing to do.
As the pope sets the example for the rest of Christendom, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses impose even more ridiculous guidelines to local elders – even often putting them in no-win situations. Many elders want to do the right thing but are restrained by the threat of losing their positions or even their families should they report suspected cases of child or domestic abuse within their congregations.
Where the Watchtower continues to hide behind their “two witness” rules and one-note guidelines that typically do nothing to help victims except to counsel them to “wait on Jehovah,” the pope is taking positive and forceful action.
No matter what actual religious beliefs you might hold, you should be pleased to see someone with such power and authority actually do something to benefit followers. It’s time for the Watchtower’s leaders to follow the pope’s example and make positive and decisive moves to wipe out child and spousal abuse once and for all.