Pope Begins Historic Summit On Abuse Scandal


Pope Francis began a historic summit in Rome to confront the Catholic Church's clergy abuse scandal by saying Catholics are not looking for simple condemnation, but concrete actions.

"In the face of this scourge of sexual abuse perpetrated by men of the church to the detriment of minors, I thought I would summon you," the Pope told the nearly 200 Catholic leaders gathered in Vatican City, "so that all together we may lend an ear and listen to the Holy Spirit ... and to the cry of the small who are asking for justice."

"The holy people of God are looking at us and expect from us not simple condemnation," Francis continued, "but concrete and effective measure to put in place. We need to be concrete."

The Pope then said he had made a list of guidelines from bishops' conferences around the world to hand out to the assembly for them to reflect upon,

For the first time in Catholic history, the almost 200 global church leaders are gathering at the Vatican to address the crisis. The four-day summit, convened by the Pope last September, will include two speeches by Francis, talks outlining best practices, small group discussions among bishops, and a penitential ceremony involving abuse survivors.

After the Pope spoke, he and the assembled church leaders watched harrowing video testimonies from several victims of clergy sexual abuse.

One woman, who was not named, spoke of a priest who began sexually abusing her when she was 15.

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