Catholic clergy on the spot as summit to fight sexual abuse of children opens
Pope Francis on Thursday opened a four-day summit to fight the sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy amid anger over the mishandling of over five decades-long cases of sexual abuse.
This is the first time in history that the Catholic Church is addressing matters of sexual abuse. The four-day summit, will include two speeches by the Pope, talks outlining best practices, small group discussions among bishops and a penitential ceremony involving abuse survivors.
The summit comes in the backdrop of new scandals sexual abuse of nuns by clergy and the publication of the salacious article One of The Biggest Gay Communities in The World in which exposed how the Catholic clergy regularly break their vows of celibacy.
“In the face of this scourge of sexual abuse perpetrated by men of the church to the detriment of minors, I thought I would summon you, so that all together we may lend an ear and listen to the Holy Spirit… and to the cry of the small who are asking for justice,” the Pope told the nearly 200 Catholic leaders gathered in Vatican City at the start of the summit.
“The holy people of God are watching and waiting not for simple and obvious condemnations but concrete and efficient measures,” he further said.
One of the summit’s stated aims is to raise awareness of a global crisis in parts of the world, like much of Asia and Africa, where the issue is barely discussed.
The summit also hopes to raise awareness through prayers, speeches, working groups and testimonies from victims.
“My hope would be that people see this as a turning point,” said American Cardinal Blase Cupich, one of the pope’s trusted allies in the US and the summit organizers.
The summit organizers on Wednesday met up with the survivors from across the world. The meeting was to understand the magnitude and urgency of the issue.