Quebec church abuse victims ask Pope for ‘swift justice’ ahead of visit

By The Canadian Press

Quebec victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy are calling on Pope Francis to deliver “swift justice” to them ahead of his visit to Canada at the end of the month.

In an open letter to the pontiff made public Thursday, lawyers for victims said more than 2,500 people who were abused by clergy are waiting to obtain justice before the courts in Quebec.

“Some religious congregations use manoeuvres that we believe are contrary to the interests of victims,” says the letter signed by victims and their lawyers. “These strategies have resulted in delays of more than 10 years in some cases.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada July 24-29, travelling to Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut. A major theme of his visit is reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for the abuse suffered in residential schools – many of which were run by Catholic clergy.

But non-Indigenous victims of sexual and physical abuse in Quebec are hoping to also draw attention to other crimes connected to the Catholic Church.

“The victims expect more than prayers,” the letter to the Pope says. “They expect concrete actions. Can your Holiness act to bring swift justice to those who were sexually assaulted by members of your clergy by giving precise instructions to the dioceses and religious congregations of Quebec.”


The papal visit is set to start in Edmonton on July 24 and end in Iqaluit on July 29 and includes visiting the site of a former Alberta residential school with survivors of the institutions.

Francis is expected to deliver an apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in residential schools during the journey to Canada.

The Pope is scheduled to travel to Quebec City July 27, where he is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. He is to have private meetings at La Citadelle and later deliver a public address. The pontiff is also scheduled to travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré July 28 to celebrate mass.

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