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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishops must realise seriousness of abuse crisis, pope says

The primary goal of the Vatican’s February summit on clerical sexual abuse and child protection is to help bishops understand the urgency of the crisis, Pope Francis said.

During a news conference with journalists on 27th January on his flight to Rome from Panama, the pope said the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences have been called to the 21st to 24th February meeting at the Vatican to be “made aware of the tragedy” of those abused by members of the clergy.

“I regularly meet with people who have been abused. I remember one person – 40 years old – who was unable to pray,” he said. “It is terrible, the suffering is terrible. So first, they (the bishops) need to be made aware of this.”

The pope’s international Council of Cardinals suggested the summit after realising that some bishops did not know how to address or handle the crisis on their own, he said.

“We felt the responsibility of giving a ‘catechesis’ on this problem to the bishops’ conferences,” he said. “That is why we convoked the presidents” of the conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches and representatives of the leadership groups of men’s and women’s religious orders.

The meeting, he said, will address “in a clear way” what protocols bishops need to follow when handling sexual abuse.

Picture: Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Panama City to Rome on 27th January 2019. Also pictured is Mgr Mauricio Rueda, papal trip planner. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).