- REUTERS/Max Rossi
- Pope Francis told reporters in Tallinn, Estonia, that everyone covered up sex abuse scandals in the past.
- He suggested that it’s unfair to apply modern standards to the Catholic Church’s cover up.
- His comments come amid Catholic Church sex abuse scandals worldwide, with the most recent revealing at least 3,677 children had been abused by priests in Germany between 1946 and 2014.
Pope Francis says that it’s unfair to apply modern standards to the Catholic Church’s sex abuse cover up.
Speaking to reporters in Tallinn, Estonia, on Tuesday, the pope suggested that everyone covered up crimes in the past, and that the Catholic Church shouldn’t be singled out, the Associated Press reported.
He said he was not excusing the church’s actions but said it was unfair to judge the cover up by today’s standards, comparing it to judging the conversion of indigenous people in the colonial era or the past use of the death penalty.
His comments come amid sex abuse scandals worldwide, with the most recent revealing at least 3,677 children had been abused by priests in Germany between 1946 and 2014.
In the US, a grand jury report released in August revealed more than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 priests in Pennsylvania over the last seven decades.
Since the grand jury report was released, several other states have opened investigations into alleged sex abuse within their own dioceses.
Also while in Estonia, Francis told a crowd that he was aware that many young people felt the church had nothing to offer them.
“They are outraged by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Nearly two-thirds of Estonia’s residents have no religious affiliation, with Lutheran and Russian Orthodox being the most popular religions.
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church wants to be transparent going forward.
“We ourselves need to be converted,” he said. “We have to realize that in order to stand by your side we need to change many situations that, in the end, put you off.”