Pope Francis held an emotional meeting with victims of clergy sex abuse. He invited them to his morning Mass at Santa Marta where he asked forgiveness to them for the suffering caused by those they trusted most.
July 7th, 2014
"Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical
sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves.”
After the Mass, he met with six victims from around the world, individually, for over three hours. They were also accompanied by members of the newly formed Commission for the Protection of Minors.
During the month of July, the plight of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities around the world continued to worry the Pope.
July 13th, 2014
"Let us hear the cries of our fellow countrymen, who ask us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace. Our fear into trust, our tension into forgiveness. Amen.”
One of the most well-known cases that sparked an international outcry was that of Meriam Ibrahim. While pregnant with her second child, Meriam was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging in Sudan for converting from Islam to Christianity.
She was eventually released from prison and her death sentence was overturned. Shortly after her release, she traveled to Italy and met with Pope Francis on July 24th.
"I want to thank you for your Christian testimony. Thank you for being an example to us all.”
The Pope seemed visibly moved after spending several moments in private while they recalled their ordeal.
At the end of the month, Pope Francis visited the southern Italian city of Caserta. While he originally intended to visit privately with an Evangelical Christian pastor, he also visited the faithful, choosing to come back two days after.
On Saturday, July 26th, he celebrated Mass with over 200,000 people in front of the Royal Palace of Caserta.
The Pope addressed the needs of the people, who suffered greatly by the mafia. They used the city as an illegal dump site, polluting the local environment.
"...This is particularly important in your beautiful land, which needs to be look after and preserved, it needs the courage to say no to any type of corruption or lawlessness. We all know the names of these forms of corruption and lawlessness.”
Two days later, he visited his friend as well as the Evangelical community he leads. The Pope took the opportunity to pray with them, as well as asking them for forgiveness for the persecution of Pentecostal Christians by Italian Catholics.
The gesture was greeted by a similar apology by the World Evangelical Alliance, ending the month of July with a conciliatory tone.