Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organisers

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2019: Organisers of Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse will meet this week with a dozen survivor-activists who have come to Rome to protest the Catholic Church’s response to date and demand an end to decades of cover-up by church leaders.

These survivors will not be addressing the summit of church leaders itself. Rather, they will meet Wednesday with the four-member organising committee to convey their complaints. The larger summit of 180 presidents of bishops conferences from around the world begins Thursday.

Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz, who is coordinating the survivor meeting, told The Associated Press he hopes for a “constructive and open dialogue” and for summit committee members to convey the survivors’ demand that bishops stop pleading ignorance about abuse.

“This has to stop,” Cruz said. “Raping a child or a vulnerable person and abusing them has been wrong since the 1st century, the Middle Ages and now.” Francis called the summit in September after he himself discredited Cruz and other Chilean victims of a notorious predator priest. Francis was subsequently implicated in the cover-up of Theodore McCarrick, the onetime powerful American cardinal who just last week was defrocked for sexually abusing minors as well as adults.

Francis appointed a four-member organizing committee headed by the Vatican’s top sex crimes investigator, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, Mumbai Cardinal Osvald Gracias and the Rev. Hans Zollner, a member of Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission.

They had urged participants to meet with victims before they came to Rome, to both familiarize themselves with victims’ pain and trauma and debunk the widely held idea that clergy sex abuse only happens in some parts of the world, Cupich told AP last week. Survivors will be represented at the summit itself via some video testimony, he said.

Cruz said the key message for the bishops to take away from the summit is that they must enforce true “zero tolerance” or face the consequences.

“There are enforceable laws in the church to punish not only those who commit the abuse but those who cover it up,” he told AP. “No matter what rank they have in the church, they should pay.”


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1 thought on “Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organisers

  1. It is surprising to note that Cardinal Oswald of Mumbai is one of the four-member organizing committee that will interact with the sex abuse survivors. According to me, he is a WRONG CHOICE. I give the following reasons below:

    1) As the President of the CCBI/CBCI, what concrete actions did he initiate to study the sex abuse by clergy in India?

    2) He has been aware of hundreds of such cases, may be in his own Archdiocese, and also in different dioceses. Example: He must have been aware of the “double life” the former Kadapa bishop was leading. What did he do?

    3) Can he quote a few examples where he suspended/defrocked the erring clergy (hit and run or hit and hide priests)?

    4) In the recent case of Bishop Franco, what actions did he take to bring him before the Law?

    5) Why did he or the CBCI/CCBI allow Bishop Franco to reside in his diocese after he came out on bail?

    6) Did Cardinal Oswald meet the sister who was sexually abused by Bishop Franco? Did he take the initiative to listen to the sisters who were on the street of Kerala demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco?

    7) When he has not listened to the sex abuse survivors in his own country, what is he going to listen in Rome?

    First of all, Cardinal Oswald must understand that “his own house” is in terrible disorder. The more you dig, more skeletons will come out. His “conscience” will tell him that he has been a silent observer. It is time for him to start the “cleansing process” in India in a “serious, sincere and concrete manner”. Charity begins at home.

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