Updated: February 15, 2017 02:48 AM GMT
Pope Francis has written the preface to a new book written by a man raped as a child by a priest. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)
The sexual abuse of children by those who have vowed to serve Christ and the church is a horrendous monstrosity that represents "a diabolical sacrifice" of innocent, defenseless lives, Pope Francis said.
The church, which must protect the weakest, has a duty "to act with extreme severity with priests who betray their mission and with the hierarchy — bishops and cardinals — who protect them," the pope wrote in the preface to a new book written by a man raped as a child by a Capuchin priest.
The book, My Father, I Forgive You (Mon Pere, Je Vous Pardonne), was written by Daniel Pittet, 57, in an effort to describe how he fell victim to a predator abuser when he was 8-years-old growing up in Fribourg, Switzerland, and the challenges he faced when came forward two decades later with the accusations. The book, currently published only in French, was to be released Feb. 16. News outlets released the text of the pope's preface on Feb. 13.
Pittet — who had been a monk, but later married and had six children — had met the pope at the Vatican during the Year of Consecrated Life in 2015.
Pope Francis said in his preface that Pittet's personal testimony about his abuse "is necessary, invaluable and courageous" because often it is very difficult for survivors to talk about what happened and the trauma that lingers for years.
Instead of leading children to God, the pope said, abusive priests "devour them" in "a diabolical sacrifice that destroys both the victim and the life of the church."
The pope wrote that he was also moved by the fact that Pittet had forgiven his abuser.
Read full story: Pope praises abuse survivor for breaking silence
Source: Catholic News Service