Pope opens meet on abuse
Vatican City: Pope Francis on Thursday opened a landmark Vatican summit on fighting child sex abuse, saying the world expected “concrete measures” on tackling paedophilia in the Catholic Church.
Over the next three-and-a-half days, the pontiff will hold talks with bishops from around the world to discuss the Church’s response to child abuse by members of the clergy.
“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. We need to be concrete,” he said as the summit opened, the first of its kind.
“Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.”
The 82-year-old pontiff hopes to raise awareness about abuse through prayers, speeches, working groups and testimonies from victims.
He said the summit was a moment to “turn this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification” and “heal the grave wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused, both in the little ones and in believers”.
Those gathered heard from unnamed abuse survivors, one of whom told them: “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”.
Another, a woman, described the horrors of being forced to undergo three abortions after being abused by a priest.