ROME – The first day of meetings in the Summit on the Protection of Minors at the Vatican concluded Thursday.
The question remains whether the church has moved any further ahead in the goal of addressing sex abuse and more importantly defining how to protect minors.
The answer depends on who you ask.
Prayer began the day at the summit with words of inspiration from the Holy Father.
Feeling proud with a sense of great promise, Cardinal Blasé Cupich touted the success of Day 1 and revealed a 21-point plan for bishops. It includes a directive to inform civil authorities about credible allegations of abuse.
“We have learned in the United States that once you begin to go down that road of informing law-enforcement you get it right,” Cupich said. “And that is something that I think the Holy Father is committed to.”
But victim survivors say the pope’s plan doesn’t go far enough. Holding an impromptu press conference outside the Vatican press office, Peter Isley with End Clergy Abuse outlined his demands for the church.
“You make sure, you make very very very sure, that if your priest has assaulted a child and you know he has that he is not going to ever harm a child in the catholic church ever, ever ever again,” he said.
Speeches throughout the day indicated a desire for accountability and prevention of sex abuse. Bishops said they would continue to listen and act accordingly.
“Our lack of response to the suffering of victims. even to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution, has injured our people,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said.
“Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna said.
The scandal in the Catholic Church is decades old. Victims said they hope this summit is not a stunt to cleanse the church’s image but a real commitment to change and stopping abusers and preventing crimes.