Vatican Summit Raises Hope

Star Phoen
February 11, 2012

Catholic leaders voiced hope on Thursday that the Vatican's first-ever summit on clerical child abuse will mark a radical turnaround for the church after decades of cover-ups.

The four-day meeting had opened with a message from Pope Benedict XVI, who has faced thousands of abuse scandals in Europe and the United States since becoming pontiff, calling for "profound renewal of the church at every level."

Bishops, cardinals and heads of religious orders held frank discussions that stressed the importance of applying the church's experience in Western countries in recent years to other parts of the world.

Vatican prosecutor Charles Scicluna said he had received over 4,000 reports of abuse over the past decade including 1,000 in the last two years, and he warned bishops would be held to account if they ignored new anti-abuse rules.

The Vatican stressed that national bishops' conferences should speed up efforts to come up with guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse in individual countries by May.

At a roundtable after the meeting, participants were optimistic.








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