VATICAN CITY (FEBRUARY 13, 2019) (CTV) – Pope Francis%20Francis&redirect=yes"> will receive the presidents of all of the world’s national bishops conferences to the Vatican Feb. 21-24 to discuss worldwide revelations of sexual abuse in the Church, which have badly eroded the institution’s credibility.
The summit will offer a chance for Francis to respond to criticism from victims of abuse who say he has mishandled the crisis and not done enough to make bishops accountable for covering it up.
Whilst being too short to fix all the problems, Reuters Vaticanist Philip Pullella explained, one aim is for the bishops to go back home with what Francis called “clear protocols” on how to prevent abuse and help victims. But many are are critical that this summit has taken too long in the planning process.
Journalist and writer Federico Tulli, co-author of investigative book “Divine Justice” about treatment centres that have been set up to deal with nuns and priests who have “shown problems”, said that the Pope is giving the perception the Church is acting but the reality is few things have changed from his predecessor’s pontificate.
In his book, Tulli affirmed that the Vatican is offering safe havens to members of clergy who embarrassed the Church, hiding them from justice.
While clear and tough procedures to prevent abuse have been in place in countries such as the United States for more than a decade, other countries, particularly those in the developing world, are lagging.
The crisis has shaken the whole world. Father Augustin, an American monk from Rhode Island, said he believed Americans were almost more angry about the church’s inaction than the abuse itself. But Peruvian priest Jose Luiz Figuerola said he hoped good things will come from the meeting.
Francis has repeatedly vowed zero tolerance for priests who abuse children, but critics have demanded more action.