Pope Francis opens sex abuse summit, says world expecting ‘concrete measures’

In addition to developing new ways to combat sexual abuse, Francis opened the summit by acknowledging that the church must listen to the victims within the church.

Kormaz said when she was 10 years old, she was gang-raped by other students, who were in turn sexually and physically abused by priests and nuns. It ended with a Colombian cardinal warning them they could all face prison if they let such crimes go unpunished.

Valentina Alazraki, Vatican correspondent for Mexico's Televisa network, urged greater transparency and communication about abuse in the final presentation Saturday at Pope Francis' summit on abuse.

Some 190 presidents of bishops' conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices are gathering for four days of lectures and workshops on preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims and investigating abuse when it does occur.

'And if everybody is on the same page then we will do more to make sure that this doesn't happen again in the church'.

"The holy people of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken".

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the US, bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, left, speaks to media, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, right, during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, on February 22, 2019.

"You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed - in some cases - into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith", the man said.

In an interview with the Italian daily Il Messaggero, Martel said he believes that the Church became "structurally homosexual" when it adopted celibacy for its priests.

Huggins says there is work to be done in Vancouver, as she takes a role on the Archdiocese's case review committee.

"I got pregnant three times, and he made me have abortions three times".

Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle choked up as he responded to their testimony.

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna told bishops they should cooperate with civil law enforcement investigations and announce decisions about predators to their communities once cases have been decided.

"It's a global issue", she said, noting that, while many nations lack mandatory reporting laws that can aid abuse victims, such disparities should spur the church to do more, not less.

"It is different in Italy because we have the Vatican just right here", he said.

The Vatican has said it would release the results, though no timeframe has been given.

He said lay experts must be involved at every step of the process, since rank-and-file Catholics know far better than priests what trauma the clergy sex abuse and its coverup has caused. "We will protect them at all cost. We will lay down our lives for the flocks entrusted to us".

Catholic Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmüller have issued a public letter on the eve of a major sex abuse summit at the Vatican.

Cupich acknowledged his proposal differed from that prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at large previous year.

Francis, for his part, offered a path of reform going forward, handing out the 21 proposals for the church to consider. The Vatican is still struggling to articulate firm protocols on how to handle accusations of misconduct against them.

While the Vatican for two decades has tried to crack down on the abusers themselves, it has largely given the bishops and superiors who moved them around from parish to parish a pass.

Abuse and cover-up, he said, "is the distortion of the meaning of ministry, which converts it into a means to impose force, to violate the conscience and the bodies of the weakest".

Victims have turned out in droves on the sidelines of the summit to demand greater accountability from the church, saying it has for decades put its own interests over those of the victims who have been harmed.

The Vatican insists that not all priests found guilty of sexual abuse be defrocked. Jankowski is accused of molesting boys. Jankowski was a prominent priest in the Solidarity pro-democracy movement in the 1980s who died in 2010.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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