Little progress since Vatican’s sexual abuse summit, say activists

The Guardian

February 17, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Pope yet to implement crucial reforms to canon law one year on from summit

The Vatican has done little to seriously address the problem of clerical sexual abuse one year on from an unprecedented summit at which bishops and cardinals heard the testimony of victims, activists have said.

Pope Francis closed the four-day summit last February promising that the Catholic church would “spare no effort” to bring to justice paedophile priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, but so far he has failed to implement crucial reforms to canon law that would allow that to happen.

About 190 bishops and cardinals attended the summit, where they heard traumatic testimony from people who had been raped and molested by priests, and about the indifference that the Catholic church’s hierarchy had shown towards them.

Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sexual abuse cases, said that while the summit did a tremendous amount of good by raising the profile of the issue, increasing media coverage of cases and encouraging victims to come forward, it had not led to a “zero-tolerance” policy.

“By that I mean ‘one strike and you’re out’ for abusers, at least out of the ministry, and ‘one strike and you’re out’ for enablers,” Doyle said on the sidelines of a press conference in Rome on Monday.

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