DES MOINES, Iowa– Thursday, for a little over two and half hours, Pope Francis huddled with America’s top bishops over the priest sex abuse crisis.
Several states are now launching investigations.
The pope also accepted the resignation of a West Virginia Bishop who’s now under investigation following allegations of a long history of sexual abuse.
In Des Moines, Bishop Richard Pates has called the abuse “totally unacceptable” and offered “heartfelt apologies” to all the victims.
“Some humans can only be exercised by prayer and fasting I have to undertake it first myself,” Bishop Richard Pates said.
Bishop Pates with the Diocese of Des Moines says victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church need more than just prayers.
“To hear all this stuff is a moral disaster that seems to have occurred worldwide and not just in the United States,” Bishop Pates said.
Pates is right, a new report from Germany’s Catholic Church found 3,766 cases of child sex abuse by clergy between 1946 and 2014.
Last month, a different report found 300 priests in the Pennsylvania Catholic Church responsible for sexually abusing 1,000.
Those are allegations, a man whose dedicated to life to the church doesn’t take lightly.
“I try to address it from three different perspectives this is a tragic moral failure, we cannot condone it, and it is what it is,” Bishop Pates said.
Even Des Moines isn’t immune, over the past ten years Pates says there has been one report of sexual abuse of a minor in The Diocese of Des Moines.
In the most recent abuse investigation last month, a priest was suspended after making unwanted advances towards a woman.
Bishop Pates is calling on parishioners to fast to raise awareness about the problem plaguing the church and realizes more needs to be done.