Photo Gallery Pope demands bishops act now to end sex abuse

Pope demands bishops act now to end sex abuse

Members of the ECA (Ending of Clergy Abuse) organization and survivors of clergy sex abuse pose for photographers outside St. Peter’s Square, at he Vatican, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.
Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz talks to journalists at the end of a meeting with organizers of a summit on preventing sexual abuse, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. A dozen survivors of clergy sexual abuse met with organizers of Pope Francis’ landmark summit on preventing abuse and protecting children.
From left, sex abuse survivors Pedro Salinas, Francoise Devoiz, Pietro Zanardi and Peter Isley leave at the end of their meeting with organizers of the summit on preventing sexual abuse at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. A dozen survivors of clergy sexual abuse met with organizers of Pope Francis’ landmark summit on preventing abuse and protecting children.
Sex abuse survivors and members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) hold their organization banner as they talk to journalists, as some of their representatives are meeting with organizers of the summit on preventing sexual abuse at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Sex abuse survivors, Denise Buchanan, left, and Peter Isely, both founding members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) make their way through a crowd of journalists on the occasion of their meeting with organizers of the summit on preventing sexual abuse at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Juan Carlos Cruz, second from right, waves to journalists as walks to meet with organizers of the summit on preventing sexual abuse at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Doris Wagner, former nun, survivor, theologian and author, attends the press conference “Voices of Faith, women’s abuse survivors’ group: Overcoming” at the Foreign Press association in Rome, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2019.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org group, holds up a photo of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Houston-Galveston and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, during a press conference at the foreign press association in Rome, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2019.
BishopAccountability.org group director Phil Saviano, left, and co-director Anne Barrett Doyle, attends a press conference at the foreign press association in Rome, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2019.
BishopAccountability.org group director Phil Saviano, left, and co-director Anne Barrett Doyle, attend a press conference at the foreign press association in Rome, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2019.

Pope Francis has warned bishops and religious superiors summoned to a landmark sex abuse prevention summit that the Catholic faithful around the world are demanding more than just condemnation of the crimes but concrete action to put an end to the scandal.

Francis opened the summit Thursday by praying for help turning “this evil into a chance for understanding and purification.”

He told the gathering of 190 leaders of bishops’ conferences and religious orders that they bore the responsibility to “listen to the cry of the young who want justice.”

Francis called the summit after botching a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year. Realizing he had erred, he has vowed to chart a new course and is bringing the rest of the church leadership along with him.

Pope Francis has opened a high-level summit of church leaders on preventing clergy sex abuse, hoping to impress on bishops from around the world that the problem is global and requires a global response.

The four-day meeting at the Vatican began early Thursday with prayers and was to feature speeches, tutorials and workshops on protecting children, preventing abuse and stopping cover-ups.

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and other Catholic superiors in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia either deny that clergy sex abuse exists or downplay the problem.

Francis has made the same mistakes. He finally did an about-face after botching a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year.

Activists in Poland have pulled down a statue of a disgraced late priest after increasing allegations that he sexually abused minors.

They acted under cover of night early Thursday to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church to deal with the problem of sex abuse by priests.

Video footage shows three men attaching a rope around the statue of the late Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in the northern city of Gdansk and then pulling it down. Jankowski was a prominent priest in the Solidarity pro-democracy movement in the 1980s who died in 2010.

Their action comes as Pope Francis gathers church leaders from around the world at the Vatican to grapple with the sex abuse crisis in the church.