Pope Francis Calls 'Global Crisis Meeting' With Bishops Over Child Abuse Scandal
The meeting perspective the sheer magnitude of the pedophile epidemic
Pope Francis has called a global crisis meeting with some of the Catholic Church’s top officials to discuss the current sexual abuse scandals involving clergy members.
The summit with high ranking church officials and bishops from around the world take place at the Vatican in February next year.
The meeting will be the first of its kind and puts into perspective the sheer magnitude of the pedophile epidemic that infested the Catholic for so many years.
“The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has decided to convene a meeting with the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of the 'protection of minors,'” the Vatican press office said in a statement.
According to The Independent: The announcement comes just one day before Pope Francis is due to meet with US church leaders over the recent allegations of abuse from a Pennsylvania grand jury report which claimed 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s — and that a string of bishops in six dioceses covered up for them, including the current archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US. Conference of Catholic Bishops will lead the delegation at the meeting on 13 September, which will also include Pope Francis' top adviser on the sexual abuse scandal matter, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.
Since the Pennsylvania report, at least six other US states have said they will launch similar investigations.
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Earlier this year, the pope admitted to "grave errors in judgment” over a sex abuse scandal in Chile, having made statements discrediting the alleged victims.
The pope also issued an unprecedented letter last month, in which he acknowledged “once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons”.
"Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient.
Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,” Francis wrote.
In light of the Pennsylvania scandal, the pope also admitted the Church "showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."
Critics have pointed out Vatican City itself does not have guidelines for preventing abuse of minors or adults, though the city-state had promised the United Nations in 2013 it would draft written guidelines to protect children in particular.
In 2011, the Vatican had ordered every bishops conference around the world to develop written guidelines and said the guidelines should specify how bishops should tend to victims, punish offenders, and keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
While most have obliged other conferences, particularly in Africa, have not - citing a lack of resources or other impediments.