Pope Says Those Responsible for Sex Abuse Will Be Held Accountable

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Saying he had just come from meeting with childhood victims of sex abuse, Pope Francis this morning spoke out strongly against the abuse by the clergy. “God weeps,” he said.

Speaking emotionally and with sympathy for the victims, the Pope said sexual abuse can no longer be covered up. “I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart. I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps.

“The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.

“You survivors of abuse have yourselves become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy. We humbly owe each one of you and your families our gratitude for your immense courage to shine the light of Christ on the evil of the sexual abuse of children.”

The Pope made the remarks before 300 bishops and cardinals at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on the Main Line.

At the very beginning of his remarks, the pontiff announced that he, along with Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, had met with the abuse victims before this morning’s gathering of bishops and cardinals, most of whom were on hand for the World Meeting of Families.

Francis focused the remainder of his remarks on a critique of consumer culture, the reluctance of many young people to marry, and the pastoral role bishops should play.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following account of the Pope’s meeting with victims this morning:

This morning between 8 and 9 a.m., at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis received five adults —three women, two men — who experienced sexual abuse as a minor by clergy, family members or teachers. Each was accompanied by a family member or support person. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the commission set up by the Pope for the protection of minors, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s commission for the protection of minors. The Pope spoke with visitors, listened to their stories, greeted them individually and prayed with them. He told them that he shared in their suffering, and he had pain and shame in particular in the case of injury caused by clergy or church workers. He renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society. The Pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to restore the truth and begin the journey of healing. The meeting lasted about half an hour and ended with the blessing of the Holy Father.

Pope Francis’s prepared remarks from the meeting with victims are below:

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Minor Fire Hits Seminary Where Pope Francis Is Staying in Philly

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

A small fire broke out last night at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where Pope Francis is staying.

According to the Inquirer, the fire started in the elevator shaft near the kitchen of the seminary, which is located in Wynnewood, around 10:47 p.m. There were no injuries and no significant damage, according to reports.

Firefighters from Lower Merion put the fire out by 11:03 p.m. No foul play is suspected.

There’s no word whether Pope Francis was even aware of the fire. The pontiff traveled to the Main Line seminary last night after watching the concert on the Parkway and speaking to the crowd about the importance of the family. He left the stage around 9:45 p.m.

8 Takeaways From Pope Francis’s Moving Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

Photograph by HughE Dillon

Pope Francis delivers the homily at a mass this morning at the Basillica of Saints Peter and Paul. | Photograph by HughE Dillon

Pope Francis just finished saying Mass for a couple thousand people at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. The event was grand, moving, lousy with priests and nuns, and had its own special Francis thing going on. Here are eight things worth noting: Read more »

In Homily, Pope Francis Calls for Greater Role for Laity … and Women?

Photograph by HughE Dillon

Photograph by HughE Dillon

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Pope Francis began the Philadelphia portion of his U.S. visit today in noteworthy fashion, noting changing times for the Church and calling for a greater role for the laity, and perhaps women, in the future.

In Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul that was attended largely by bishops, priests, nuns, and deacons, the Pope called on the Church to foster in its faithful a greater sense of “personal responsibility” for the institution’s mission. “This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations,” he said.

“We know that the future of the Church in a rapidly changing society will call, and even now calls, for much more active engagement on the part of laity.” Read more »

In Philly Deposition, Cosby Describes Seducing Women With Drugs and Fame

cosby video

In a deposition taken at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel a decade ago, Bill Cosby acknowledged pursuing young women for sex in a manipulative and calculating way, at times using drugs, money and his own fame as a way of seducing them.

According to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of Cosby’s deposition in a case brought by Andrea Constand, a young Temple employee who claimed Cosby drugged and sexually molested her in the early 2000s, the entertainer came across in his four days of testimony as “alternately annoyed, mocking, occasionally charming and sometimes boastful, often blithely describing sexual encounters in graphic detail.” Read more »

Coming Next From Philly Mag: BizPhilly


Tom McGrath, Philly Mag editor, here. Over the last few years Philly Mag has undergone tremendous growth and change — with a lot of that change originating right here on phillymag.com.

In January we launched Citified, our politics and urban affairs channel, which people around the city have been buzzing about. Last fall we unveiled a digital Sunday edition, which has quickly become a must-read for people subscribing to it (you can sign up here). We’ve done more and more when it comes to live events, including our annual ideas conference, ThinkFest, and our annual fitness event, Be Well Philly Boot Camp (reserve your spot now for this June’s boot camp). And this is to say nothing of the other channels — from Shoppist and Ticket to Wedding and Birds 24/7 — that we’ve created to cover Philly on a daily basis. Read more »

Introducing … Philadelphia Sunday

sunday-nb-112314-pot-is-coming-400x524This weekend those of you who subscribe to Philly Mag’s newsletters will see something new show up in your inbox. It’s called Philadelphia Sunday, and it’s a brand-new digital product that we hope feels like a cross between a weekly magazine and the good, old-fashioned Sunday newspaper.

What’s in it? A mix of all-new, digital-only features and columns, plus highlights from our latest print edition. Our goal is to give you something you can relax and enjoy as you sip a cup of coffee on Sunday morning — timely news pieces, compelling long reads, provocative columns, and smart lifestyle stories that will help you get the most out of Philadelphia in the week ahead.

Read more »

Former Ambassador Joe Torsella and FringeArts’s Nick Stuccio on Friendship

Joe Torsella and Nick Stuccio on Long Beach Island, 1985.

Joe Torsella and Nick Stuccio on Long Beach Island, 1985.

PM: You guys have both had successful careers. Joe, you launched the Constitution Center and were recently an ambassador to the U.N. Nick, you founded FringeArts. And you’ve known each other since you went to high school together in northeastern Pennsylvania.

JOE: I actually am responsible for all of Nick’s success, by virtue of our high-school relationship. That seems bold, I know.

NICK: But it’s kinda true.

JOE: We met each other in early high school, I think in Mrs. Podesta’s … what was the class, geometry?

NICK: Geometry. We knew each other casually. But we became friends when Joe here decided to direct a play. Because Joe was going to be a famous theater director. Read more »

The Taney Dragons Speak!

Row 1: Zion Spearman, Jared Sprague-Lott, Tai Shanahan. Row 2: Erik Lipson, Joe Richardson, Carter Davis. Row 3: Kai Cummings, Eli Simon, Jahli Hendricks. Photography by Justin James Muir

Row 1: Zion Spearman, Jared Sprague-Lott, Tai Shanahan. Row 2: Erik Lipson, Joe Richardson, Carter Davis. Row 3: Kai Cummings, Eli Simon, Jahli Hendricks. Photography by Justin James Muir

PM: Could any of you have predicted you’d go to the World Series?

Jared Sprague-Lott: I knew we had the talent, but if you run into one really good team that’s better than you are … so … not really.

PM: When did you start to think you had a chance?

Joe Richardson: When we won states. Collier [from Allegheny County] was the hardest team by far.

Erik Lipson: [banging a plastic soda bottle] I’d like to answer that question. Okay … what was the question? [laughter] Read more »

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell Talk (and Talk) Politics

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell. Photograph by Justin James Muir

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell. Photograph by Justin James Muir

PM: When did you guys first meet?

ED: [laughs] I have no idea.

CHRIS: I just remember that he and Billy Green [then Philadelphia’s mayor] were trying to take my job away. This was back in 1980. I was speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. All the big-city guys ganged up on us.

ED: This was the Kennedy-Carter presidential primary. I was supporting Kennedy.

CHRIS: Teddy came to town, and he was eating Philly pretzels and meeting with the Cardinal. You could do that in those days. And Carter was in his Rose Garden because of the [Iranian] hostages. And I’m handling Philly. These guys rolled us over. Read more »

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