Catholic priests claim to be in a & # 39; state of persecution & # 39; live in the midst of constant investigations into allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades.
In Inside the Vatican, the second part of a BBC 2 documentary, members of the clergy will discuss tonight the scandal that upset the Catholic Church last summer and the resonating impact it had.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Holy See, claims that things & # 39; very radical & # 39; have changed due to the declining trust in the establishment.
Don Luigi, a priest who has lived in the Vatican since he first arrived as a 12-year-old altar boy, claims that he now feels that members of the clergy live in a & # 39; kind of media persecution & # 39;
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Holy See, claims that things & # 39; very radical & # 39; have changed due to the declining trust in the establishment
& # 39; The church in particular is being attacked from all sides. Hearing about pastors accused of abuse does not make the lives of all other priests easy, "he explains during the program.
& # 39; Unfortunately we risk that the church is seen only from that point of view, but there are many beautiful examples of priests who really give their lives to God every day. & # 39;
He adds how he likes to pass on his religion to the younger members of his congregation and help them get closer to their faith, but church attendance is falling sharply, with many closed throughout the Western world.
Benjamin Harnwell, originally from Leicester, who runs a conservative think tank and questions some of the Pope's innovations, says that these problems are profound in the Church, due to a growing lack of faith across the laity, the bishops, the priests & # 39 ;.
However, he adds: & # 39; if we do not have the Catholic face, we will not attract anyone to it, in terms of faith and in terms of vocations & # 39 ;.
Journalist Christopher Lamb, who himself is a devout Catholic (in the photo meets Pope Francis) describes Ireland as the & # 39; Ground Zero & # 39; of the spiritual sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, in which he explains how they have been dealing with this since the late 1990s
& # 39; That is the crisis that the Catholic Church is having and I would like it to be given attention to that crisis & # 39 ;, he says.
At the end of August last year, Pope Francis prepared to go to Ireland – the first papal visit for 39 years – when the church was startled by a scandal two weeks before his trip.
A destructive report emerged in Pennsylvania, claiming that Catholic clergy abuse sexually dating back decades, with more than 300 predator priests exploiting child victims.
Since then, Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have launched major compensation programs.
Every year the Vatican processes hundreds of cases of priests accused of abuse.
In Ireland, Pope Francis begged forgiveness for members of the Catholic Church hierarchy who are silent & # 39; about sexual abuse of children.
& # 39; What you had was a perfect storm of events & # 39 ;, explains journalist Christopher Lamb, who himself is also a devout Catholic.
& # 39; You had Pennsylvania and then the Pope went to Ireland within that context, so the whole thing exploded that weekend of August. & # 39;
He describes Ireland as the & # 39; Ground Zero & # 39; of the spiritual sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and explains how they have been dealing with this since the end of the 1990s.
& # 39; It's not just the thousands of victims of sexual abuse in the church, but it's the cover-ups of church leaders and bishops, not just in Ireland, but all over the world & # 39 ;, Christopher adds.
& # 39; I think it was the toughest journey of his papacy. He wanted to go to Ireland because there was a gathering of families, but it became a very difficult journey because the whole story was about the sexual abuse scandals.
& # 39; It would be wrong for the Pope to go to Ireland and not mention the elephant in the room. This is a huge crisis. & # 39;
In a speech, Pope Francis emphasized the failure of ecclesiastical leaders to bring this & # 39; horrific & # 39; adequately cope with crimes – and called it a & # 39; source of suffering and shame for the Catholic community & # 39 ;.
He promised his obligation to eliminate & # 39; this scourge & # 39; in the church.
According to Christopher, this meant a major shift in the papacy because the pope acknowledged that priests could make mistakes and, in essence, admit liability, with a promise to resolve the problem.
Father Hans Zollner, a psychologist and one of the leading experts on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, who has been a member of the special committee of the Pope for the Protection of Minors since 2014, says that Pope Francis is on the agenda has set & # 39; from all over the world & # 39 ;.
Every year the Vatican processes hundreds of cases of priests accused of sexual abuse, often with minors
& # 39; This remains with us for a very long time and we have to face it & # 39 ;, Father Hans explains.
& # 39; If you don't face it actively, it will come back to us in some way, so you either accept it or you accept it. & # 39;
Father Hans was trained as a psychologist and psychotherapist in the mid-1990s and says he was one of the few students at any university worldwide who specifically learned about sexual violence and abnormalities, including sadomasochism, masochism, voyeurism, and pedophilia.
& # 39; Society must reach a certain level of readiness and willingness to accept this because it looks like in a mirror when you see the face of a monster and nobody really wants to cope so easily & # 39 ;, he notes.
While in Ireland, Pope Francis begged forgiveness for members of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church who & # 39; are silent & # 39; about sexual abuse of children
& # 39; There is a sense that a priest in the church can do what he wants to do without being responsible.
& # 39; Of course this is a huge crisis in terms of lack of trust, lack of trust, because who else should live what he preaches, if not a priest? & # 39;
Archbishop Gallagher says he has seen a change in his native South Liverpool, where the church he went to is no longer active.
& # 39; They have taken it out of use, and when I drive past it when I go home, it is very sad to think that there is the church where I grew up, where my family went, where I went I said my first Mass as a priest, and that is no longer used as a place of worship, "he says.
& # 39; That's hard to deal with. You always want a certain amount of sustainability in your life, but it is certainly an indication that things have changed and the question is really: have they changed for the better? & # 39;
Despite having moments of & # 39; desolation & # 39; about his Catholic belief of reporting the crisis of sexual abuse, journalist Christopher says seeing Pope Francis speaks and the work of the church first hand & # 39; inspiring & # 39; is
But Father Hans is optimistic and believes that the future is a Catholic church with a & # 39; different faith & # 39; has.
At the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he and his colleagues set up postdoctoral training given by a nun in child protection to ensure that the scandal of ecclesiastical sexual abuse will not be repeated in future generations.
& # 39; This is the first university to offer an academic degree in protection, & he said.
# We need specialists who are truly capable of not only implementing, drafting, but also developing, updating with dialogue, with science, with police, with the legal system in the country.
& # 39; We need people who are better informed, more competitive and more willing to do what needs to be done to ensure that young people are safe. & # 39;
Archbishop Gallagher says he has seen a change in his native South Liverpool, where the church he went to is no longer active
Father Hans explains that the Catholic Church is a & # 39; much more complex reality & # 39; is then perceiving people.
Speaking of the training sessions, he adds: & # 39; This is an area that not many people speak easily; it's coming now, but there is still an inconvenience and a lack of willingness to really take it as a society and as a church.
& # 39; There is a great need to prepare another generation through education and information. This is an immediate solution for nothing, but it is the start for a better future. & # 39;
Despite having moments of & # 39; desolation & # 39; about his Catholic belief of reporting the crisis of sexual abuse, journalist Christopher says that seeing Pope Francis speaks and the work of the church first hand & # 39; inspiring & # 39; is.
& # 39; You think there is something the church has & # 39 ;, he says.
Inside the Vatican is broadcast tonight 21:00 on BBC Two.
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