Vatican: Critics of the meeting and reformers see the decisions at best as a first step.
As a “test” to check whether the Catholic Church is still credible and can give their followers a guaranteed future to protect children from abuse, Vatican expert referred Franca Giansoldati the Child Protection Conference, which today is Sunday in Rome to an end goes.
The interest was huge. There was almost as much media interest as in the papal election. “There has never been such a broad meeting on the topic, it was like a ‘little Vatican Council,” explains Giansoldati.
The bishops consider the summit a “turning point” in the Church’s commitment to child abuse. The concern of many Cardinals in the wake of the shocking reports of abuse victims who were leaked via video was great. The US Archbishop Cupich, who belongs to the Organizing Committee, apologized for the Church’s “blindness” to the extent and damage of child abuse by clergy. Pope Francis presented a compulsory 21-point rule catalog, in the future child abuse by priests to prevent and bring quickly to the announcement. The bishops should turn to the local justice of the respective country. The goal of the Pope is to prevent the long-covered sexual abuse of children by clerics in the future and to sensitize the bishops around the world for the problem.
Even if readiness for change was signaled and steps were taken to improve and prevent it: The disappointment on the part of the victims of abuse in the Catholic Church remains. They protested near the Vatican. They demand concrete results from Pope Francis. This includes a clear statement that bishops are responsible for the behavior of their priests and will be punished should they cover up something.
Urgently necessary, but not to be realized in four days would be a new organizational culture in which the victims, who are mostly of people lay, are actually placed at the center of ecclesiastical interests. That would be equal to a revolution in terms of Vatican standards.
But that’s exactly what critics call for. The Indian activist Virginia Saldanha is outraged that Cardinal Oswald Gracias played a key role in the conference. The Indian churchman is alleged to have waited far too long in cases of abuse before he reported them to the police. Saldanha explains that three legal letters were sent to the cardinal threatening a lawsuit before the cardinal filed charges of abuse.
The Reform Movement “We Are Church” considers Pope Francis’ proposals to fight against the sexual abuse of children inadequate. The above 21 points could only be the first steps to establishing globally binding standards for the prevention and management of suspected cases. In general, a fundamental reorientation of the church is necessary. These included the abolition of compulsory celibacy, the consecration of women, a different sexual morality and a genuine separation of powers in the Roman Catholic Church.
But the abolition of celibacy as a preventive measure was not an issue. “It will talk about the way of life of priests, but I do not think that is the only point at which the abuse is overcome,” said the German Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Pope Francis is considered a declared advocate of celibacy.
“We are Church” reformers are calling for a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church in the face of the current existential crisis: “The decades of massive spiritual and sexual abuse against children and youth, seminarians, women and women religious and their systematic cover-up are not a partial problem that can be solved in isolation but can arise from the current hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic Church. “