During a private meeting with eight survivors of clerical sex abuse on Saturday, Pope Francis referred to those who cover up clerical sex abuse as excrement, or more precisely, “caca.”
The official translator for the pope interpreted the Spanish word as “filth you would see in the toilet” but “shit” or “excrement” would be a more accurate translation.
Read More: Clerical abuse of children “source of pain and shame” for me, says Pope Francis
“I’m sure the translator was trying not to be vulgar,” Junno Arocho Esteves, the Rome Correspondent of the Catholic News Service, said on Twitter, “but ‘filth as one sees in a toilet’ just doesn’t do the word ‘caca’ justice. For us Hispanics, ‘caca’ is one of several words that translates to ‘shit.’”
During the meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half and took place in the Papal Nuncio residence on Navan Road, Pope Francis met with survivors of clerical sex abuse and people who spent time in church-run industrial schools, seminaries and mother-and-baby-homes, The Irish Times reports.
At the meeting, the pope was asked to use his influence to get the religious order who ran the mother-and-baby homes to “acknowledge their actions and issue an open and unqualified apology” to mothers and their children.
“Very powerful meeting. He listened with a genuine interest,” Clodagh Malone, who was born in a mother-and-baby home and has campaigned for justice for the mothers who were forced to give up their children for adoption, told Reuters.
Earlier in the day, the pope spoke publicly about abuse in the church, saying he could not “fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.”
Read More: Pope Francis in Ireland hears strong criticism on church child abuse from Irish president and prime minister
“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share these sentiments.”