Pope creates commission on church abuse, local survivor hopeful

Pope to create panel to look into abuse in the church

The Pope’s decision to create a panel to look into child sexual abuse in the church has at least one survivor hopeful.

Joe Cody of La Crosse says it’s a good sign that the Pope is forming the commission.

He says after decades of running from the truth, it’s important to be open and honest about what happened.

Cody thinks this is an opportunity for the church to be truthful and help victims forgive and heal. “The church can really do what it’s supposed to do, you know save people, help people, heal people, and not get caught up in protecting it’s own interests and hiding from the truth, but dealing with it,” said Cody.

The Pope announced the commission last week saying it should come up with guidelines on how to handle misconduct, and ways to better screen priests.

Pope Francis has made waves since taking office, pushing the church to move forward.

When it comes to addressing priest abuse, Cody says he’s more optimistic with this Pope, whom he calls a breath of fresh air. “It seems like this Pope is genuinely more of a Pope of the people, he certainly represents that he carries his own bags, he sneaks out and gives money on the street and he seems to represent humanity as opposed to the hierarchy.”

News 8 did reach out to the Diocese of La Crosse for comment, however they turned down the opportunity for an interview. On Wednesday morning, the Diocese gave us the following statement:

“The Diocese of La Crosse, in alliance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission on the protection of minors. The move was urged by the Council of Cardinals, an advisory group to the pope that met at the Vatican, December 3-5.

The problem of sexual abuse of minors exists throughout society and every effort must be made to protect children, particularly within the Church.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the USCCB, promised full cooperation of the U.S. bishops with this commission. Bishop Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse sees this as a most welcome initiative and is looking forward to receiving more information on its implementation.

We continue to keep Pope Francis and this commission in our prayers.”