“The healing process on the clerical abuses crisis has started”. Pope Francis made this statement to a Spanish journalist who asked him about the February summit on clerical sexual abuse. Interviewed on the trip back from Morocco to the Vatican, the Pontiff also said that he understood some victims aren’t satisfied with the results.
“I understand them because one sometimes looks for results that are concrete facts of that moment,” he said. “For example, if I had hung 100 abusive priests in St. Peter Square, it’s a concrete fact, I would have occupied space.”
“But my interest is not to occupy spaces, but to start healing processes,” he said.
The concrete result of the summit, he argued, was to “start processes, and this takes time,” he said, but it’s the only way “for the cure to be irreversible.”
Pope Francis compared the abuse crisis to the conquest of America by the Spanish, saying history has to be understood with the hermeneutics of the time. Prior to the explosion of the Boston scandals in 2002, he said, the “hermeneutics was it’s better to hide it, avoid future evils.”
But “when you hide, it propagates, once the culture of uncovering begins, things don’t propagate,” the pope said, encouraging survivors to come forth.
Asked about the situation in Venezuela, the pope said that the Holy See has tried to mediate but it “failed.”
He said he didn’t make a “judgment of value” on the different actors in the crisis and the failed dialogue attempts, and also revealed that after a failed attempt in 2016, there were other more “discreet, unofficial” attempts, “bridges that have helped a little.”
Venezuela today is facing an unprecedented crisis, with President Nicolas Maduro holding on to power with the support of China, Russia and Cuba, although opposition leader Juan Guaido was also sworn in as president by the National Assembly, following the country’s constitution. Guaido has the support of the United States, the European Union and most of Latin America.
Asked to give an opinion on Maduro, whom the pope has met twice, Francis said it’s difficult to give an opinion on someone with whom he’s spoken just for a few minutes, but defined him as a man “convinced of his thing” and underlined that he met with the successor of Hugo Chavez before the situation “became more acute.”
Asked to give an opinion on Donald Trump he said something similar, that he’s only met with the U.S. president for a short meeting dominated by protocol but defined him as a man who “has his project, has his plan.”
Asked who he would have a coffee with if he had to choose between Maduro or Trump, Francis said that he’d have one “with both.”