Most Influential People2019

Pope Francis

By Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna
Pope Francis
Alessandra Benedetti—Corbis/Getty Images

This year Pope Francis has addressed the whole Catholic Church on the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. He convoked an important meeting of church leadership in February because he believes in protecting the young, and that Catholic leaders around the world should be on the same page.

He is determined to put in place guidelines and policies to protect children and other vulnerable people. He believes we should not only pay attention to the symptoms, however tragic they are, but we should also go deeper and discern what are the roots of this “clericalism”—this evil abuse of conscience and power.

In his mind and in his heart, the abuse of these innocent persons is an abuse of the body of Jesus Christ. With great courage and wisdom, Pope Francis has invited all of us in the church to approach the immense suffering of victims with the same reverence as we would approach the suffering body of Christ.

Scicluna is the Archbishop of Malta and a leading reformer on clerical sex abuse