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Local Clergy Sex Abuse Victims React To Pope's Visit To U.S.

This article is more than 5 years old.

As Pope Francis' visit to the United States drew to a close, survivors and advocates of church sex abuse in Massachusetts reacted to the pope's meeting with a group of survivors on Sunday.

In his Mass in Philadelphia on Sunday, the pope promised to hold clergy and bishops accountable for failing to protect children.

Phil Saviano, of Roslindale, is a clergy sex abuse survivor, and he said that while he felt encouraged by the pope's meeting, he believes there is still work to be done.

"[Pope Francis] set up a committee of victims and other advisers, he has established a tribunal to hold bishops accountable, but apart from setting up these things, nothing really has been done," said Saviano, who established the New England chapter of SNAP, or the Survivors Of Those Abused By Priests.

Saviano added that the Vatican needs to provide more details on how the new tribunal will hold bishops accountable for protecting pedophile priests.

"He has to get the message across to bishops that this sort of cover up in protecting the criminals and not reporting to police will not be tolerated," said Saviano.

Among those lauding the pope's comments and actions is Wellesley resident Mark Mullaney, a member of the Catholic group Voice Of The Faithful, an organization that advocates for victims of sex abuse in the church.

"He wants the end of secrecy, and he wanted the beginning of healing," Mullaney said. "Those are all compelling elements that to me, as I read it, seem to sense that he understands the severity of this. He says 'God weeps' ... that was compelling."

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