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“I Am Father Jorge”: Pope Phones A Sex-Abuse Victim and Causes a Stir in Spain

AP Photo/Max Rossi

Alvaro Real - published on 11/20/14

Media publish a possible phone conversation between Francis and the young man in Granada.

Many media outlets have reported this Tuesday on a supposed phone call from Pope Francis to a young man in Granada (Spain) who suffered from sexual abuse when he was a minor. A group of priests are implicated in the case.

According to the Religión Digital website, Francis called the victim this past August, asked him for forgiveness in the name of the Church, and committed himself to following the case through to the end to ensure justice is done.  For the moment, the archbishop of Granada has removed from ministry several priests who are implicated in this case.

Various media outlets have published the Pope’s supposed conversation with the young man, who has been given the alias “Daniel.” This is the account:

“Who is it?” Daniel answers. “Am I speaking with Daniel?” comes the reply from the other end of the phone, in a strangely familiar voice. “Yes, it’s me. Who’s calling?” “Good afternoon my son, I am Fr. Jorge.” “I’m sorry,” Daniel responds, “you must have the wrong number. I don’t know any Fr. Jorge.” And he is astonished when he hears, “Well, I’m Pope Francis.”
For a few seconds, Daniel can’t even make a sound. On the other end, his interlocutor thinks that he has hung up. “Are you still there?”  His tone of voice is unmistakable. It’s the Pope!

“My son, calm down. I read your letter several times. I couldn’t help being moved, and feeling profound sorrow when I read your story. I want to ask you for forgiveness in the name of the whole Church of Christ.  Forgive this grave sin and very serious crime which you have suffered. These wounds make the whole Church suffer.” Tears run down Daniel’s face. He can’t stop crying, nor say a single word.

Pope Francis’s call took place in the month of August and is in response to five long pages in which Daniel explained his case.  The victim sent his letter to the office of the Secretary of State, and it was the Pope himself who answered him over the phone.

“You have my total support, my son, and the support of the whole Church. I am about to go on a trip to Korea, but there are already people working to resolve all of this. I thank God that you conserve your Faith and continue in the Church. Pray for me, my son, as I will without a doubt pray for you, your family and the rest of the victims of this serious offense committed by priests. I send you my blessing and the complete support of the Church, and a strong hug, my son.”

At this time, the case of Daniel and of other additional victims is being investigated by the judicial police of Granada.
It is not the first time that Pope Francis has shown public or private gestures of closeness to victims of sexual abuse by priests. Last July, for example, he received Peter Saunders in the Vatican. Saunders is the founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC).

This article was translated from the original by Matthew Green.

Pope FrancisSpain
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