Night of long knives as Pope set to host child sex summit
Pope Francis will this week preside over the much anticipated summit tackling child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.
The summit will take place between Thursday February 21st to Sunday February 24, 2019.
The pope has gathered around 100 head bishops from across the world in the Vatican to discuss a concrete action plan on the fight against the paedophilia.
Pope Francis on Sunday asked the faithful to pray for the meeting adding that it comes “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time”.
Several victims from countries where their plight is ignored have been invited to the summit.
The Vatican organized the awareness week, despite many in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East seeing the discussion of violence towards children and sex a taboo.
“Someone who has met a victim, heard their cries for help, their tears, their psychological and physical wounds, can’t remain the same,” said German Jesuit priest Hans Zollner, a psychologist who travels the world educating priests and is one of the conference’s organizers.
The Catholic Church has been bedeviled by child sex abuse claims for the last 35 years. Australia. Britain, Canada, Ireland, and the United State have set up preventive measures in curbing the act.
“It works, the number of new accusations of sexual assault in all these countries is now minimal,” added Hans.
The summit comes after Pope Francis defrocked an ex- American cardinal – Theodore McCarrick – over accusations he sexually abused a teenager 5 decades ago.
McCarrick, 88, who resigned from the Vatican’s College of Cardinals in July, is the first highest- ranking to undergo such punishment.
“The aim is for the heads of the world’s episcopal conferences to achieve “a feeling of collective responsibility,” said Father Federico Lombardi, in charge of debates during the conference.