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The Abuse Summit (21-24 Feb 2019) was a disappointment and a missed opportunity.
For over 3 decades clerical child sex abuse scandals have been prominent in several countries (Austria, Germany, USA, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Chile) who have introduced safeguarding measures. These measures have been refined through experience and audits. More recently clerical child sex abuse scandals have surfaced in many other countries (France, Spain, India, etc) and continue to be reported where previously such abuse was kept secret.
The Abuse Summit was therefore an opportunity to share the knowledge and expertise that has been built up so that children in Delhi or Dar es Salaam are as safe as children in Dallas or Dublin. But this did not happen. There was an absence of concrete actions to safeguard children:
Reactions to the Bishops Conference
Now that the Bishops Conference on the protection of minors is over, here are the reactions that have come in so far.
Concrete changes are coming from women, not from the hierarchy
As the anti-abuse summit of the Presidents of Bishops' Conferences ends in Rome, the consensus emerges that the most powerful voices belonged to the survivors gathered in Rome, and the few women whose voices were heard in and around the Vatican.
But the question still remains: Will anything change?
All Nice things were said about the responsibility to victims – listen, take on the journey and responsibility to respond.
We tried to provide listening to victims, heard the cry of young, have guidelines to stimulate discussions which include financial responsibility, relationship between Bishops and Superiors of Religious Congregations, ensuring health community life of priests, etc.
Pope gave a short speech he emphasized listening, Spirit of solidarity and what he expects to happen, a conversion and purification. We need to obtain concrete results. He has prepared a handout of 21 points which will be made into a booklet. Collaboration with all people of goodwill. He will raise marriage age (and change Canon Law), from 14 to 16 (is this progress??? Which century are we living in??)
February 18, 2019
Join our Prayers for the Bishops Conference
As preparations are being made for the all-important Bishops conference beginning in a few days, CCRI wants the organizing committee to have our two letters foremost in their minds: Our letter to Fr. Hans Zollner and our letter to Cardinal Cupich. What can you do? Please reread these two letters and, if you agree, forward them to your bishop. Let's do all in our power to make sure the bishops deciding these important issues hear the voices of the People of God.
Our prayers from all over the world are with all these men as they prepare to begin this conference. We especially pray that the bishops will hear the Holy Spirit and begin to implement essential changes in our church that will go well beyond a plan to punish the abusers and actually address the real cause of the problem.
Will be sending regular reports
Virginia Saldanha from India will be our representative in Rome during this conference. She will be attending the press conferences and sending us daily reports which we'll pass onto through our newsletter.
Many of us who care deeply about our Church will be watching closely. But our very real fear is that the outcome of this gathering will be that the bishops will only place band aids on the sex abuse crisis in the church. In order to truly resolve the issue at its core, our global network is convinced beyond any doubt that mandatory celibacy on all men who feel called to the priesthood is the deep-seeded cause. Yet, despite Pope Francis's stringent efforts to end clericalism, we have heard him say recently that he would lay down his life to preserve celibacy. As the organizing committee, Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Gracias, Archbishops Scicluna, and Fr. Zollner are needed to be the voices of reason. It is our deepest prayer that they will be able to help the bishops see the role that clericalism plays in this crisis and begin to take the essential steps to rid the church of this disorder once and for all. For this to happen, celibacy must be optional; women must be treated with equality; and church structure must be decentralized and include the People of God in the decision-making.
Your donations are most appreciated
Grateful to all for your donations and contributions of ideas. I am hopeful that all of our suggestions will be weighed and evaluated by the Organizing Committee who has worked hard in preparing this conference.
Re: Clerical SexAbuse Conference called by Pope Francis
Reverend Blasé Cupich:
As you and other members of the Planning Committee prepare to tally the results of the questionnaire completed by bishops, along with it, we urge you to include the insights of some of the leadership of the Church – including priests, bishops, and vicar generals – who have affiliated with us. In a separate letter, we have presented our hopes for specific agenda items in the form of bullet points for your reflection in these remaining weeks. Having submitted these points, we recognize that the follow-up planning will be long term and must of prudent necessity include the lay faithful in many forms. We appreciate and support your description of this conference as "the beginning of a worldwide reform that will need to be ongoing and will involve a process of initiatives on regional, national and diocesan levels." Guided by the Spirit, the bishops will most assuredly lay out plans that will involve the people of God’s full participation, not limited to serving as equal members on tribunals and could even lead to calling a 3rd Ecumenical Council. With this in mind, we’d now like to present what most progressives consider to be the apparent overriding solutions that will purge the Church once and for all of this malignant disease infesting our Church.