Why the Summit Fell Flat, and What Might Happen Next

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 23: Pope Francis, flanked by cardinals and bishops, attends a Penitential Liturgy at the Regia Hall at the end of 'The Protection Of Minors In The Church' meeting on February 23, 2019 in Vatican City, Vatican. The papal summit 'Protection of Minors in the Church', held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February, is the first meeting to involve all the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences and those responsible for religious orders worldwide. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)


The Pope’s closing address for the Vatican sex abuse summit Feb. 21-24 was filled with statistics on the overall phenomenon of all child sexual abuse worldwide, most of which occurs within the context of the family, Pope Francis pointed out.

“Today we find ourselves before a manifestation of brazen, aggressive and destructive evil,” he said. “We need to take up the spiritual means that the Lord himself teaches us: humiliation, self-accusation, prayer and penance. This is the only way to overcome the spirit of evil. It is how Jesus himself overcame it.”

Building upon the World Health Organization’s “Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children,” the pope presented eight guidelines to aid the Church in “developing her legislation” on the issues.

The eight guidelines can be summarized as follows:

1. A “change of mentality” to focus on protecting children rather than “protecting the institution.”
2. A recognition of the “impeccable seriousness” of these “sins and crimes of consecrated persons.”
3. A genuine purification beginning with “self-accusation.”
4. Positive formation of candidates for the priesthood in the virtue of chastity.
5. Strengthening and reviewing of guidelines by episcopal conferences, reaffirming the need for “rules.”
6. The accompaniment of those who have been abused with an emphasis on listening.
7. Ensure that seminarians and clergy are not enslaved to an addiction to pornography.
8. Combat sexual tourism around the world.

Twice in his speech, the Pope highlighted “the scourge of pornography” and its influence on violence against minors.
However, many complained that the Summit did not take into account sexual abuse of women particularly subordinates (nuns and other church workers). In the current article published in National Catholic Register on 25th February 2019, Msgr. Charles Pope expresses his points of view. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor Church Citizens Voice.
The refusal to consider vulnerable adults and homosexuality in the discussion is a severe blow to credibility.



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1 Response

  1. George Nedumparambil says:

    I am wondering why minor children should be made to go for confession.  Is it children's stuff that teach them, in preparation to their first holy communion, things such as 'do not covet neighbor's wife,  do not kill, do not commit adultery'  etc. Such things are adult stuff and are too much for children to be introduced to at such an impressionable young age as little as  8 years. (I am assuming that 10 Commandment is still taught in the catechism classes).  Why not make confession available only after the children have turned the age when the country"s law treat them as adult after a crash course on Christian faith at that time.  This way, sexually frustrated priests (at least some will be as they are human) will loose an opportunity to trap youngsters through confessional. There is already a law in most countries that criminalise sexual harrassment at work place.  The relationship between priests and nuns should come the provisions of this Act.  Lastly, sexual adventures of clergy with consenting adults of either sex  is not sin under law.  It will be sin under Church law and the culprit may be regarded as purified through confession.  

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