Vatican City, Thursday
Pope Francis has said the world expects “concrete measures” to tackle child sexual abuse by priests and not only “simple and obvious condemnations”.
At a summit to discuss the scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church, he said “the cry of the little ones seeking justice” had to be heard. Over the next three-and-a-half days, the pontiff (pictured) will hold talks with bishops from around the world to discuss the Church’s response to child abuse by members of the clergy.
Details of sexual abuse have emerged across the world and the Church has been accused of covering up crimes. Survivors say new safeguarding protocols are needed to protect minors.
The unprecedented four-day summit at the Vatican is being attended by the heads of all national bishops’ conferences from more than 130 countries.
The Vatican has tried to reduce expectations with the Pope previously saying the conference – called Protection of Minors in the Church – represented only the beginning of a conversation.
The 82-year-old pontiff is under serious pressure to provide leadership and generate workable solutions to what is the most pressing crisis facing the modern Church.
“The holy people of God look at us and await from us not simple and obvious condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to put into place. Concreteness is required,” he said in a short opening statement.
“I ask the Holy Spirit to support us in these days and to help us to transform this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification. May the Virgin Mary enlighten us to try to cure the serious wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused both in children and in believers.” -BBC