World's cardinals meet for sex abuse talks

2010-11-19 19:31
Vatican City - Cardinals from around the world met on Friday for unprecedented talks on paedophile clergy, as activists called on the church to end "symbolic gestures" and release files on the abuses.

Around 150 of the Roman Catholic Church's 203 cardinals prayed for guidance during the meeting in the Vatican, which also debated the issue of religious freedom and conversions of Anglicans to Catholicism.

The closed-door meeting was referred to by the Vatican as "a day of prayer and reflection" on the challenges facing the church.

Pope Benedict XVI invited the cardinals to take part earlier this month.

The issue of abuses by priests and cover-ups by bishops has exposed a raw nerve among many ordinary Catholics dissatisfied with the Vatican's handling of the issue and has put church authorities on the defensive.

Media storm

"I'm tired of talking about this topic. I've had it up to here," Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan told reporters on the sidelines of the talks.

"It's a real media storm," he said.

The publication in Ireland last year of a shocking report that documented hundreds of cases of child abuse by priests and systematic cover-up efforts by senior clergy has plunged the church into its worst crisis in many years.

There have since been hundreds more cases across the US and Europe.

"If the pope and cardinals want to make a difference, they would be meeting with law enforcement professionals, not with one another," said Joelle Casteix, 40, an abuse victim who travelled to Rome from the United States to protest.

"Experience tells us the church will probably hear about our campaign today but won't do anything unless they're held up at legal gunpoint," Casteix, a member of the US anti-abuse campaign group Snap, told reporters in Rome.

Lucy Duckworth, 28, who said she was abused by two priests when she was a child, added: "The church says they offer support to victims. I've had no such support. No phone calls from the church. I pay for my own therapy."

The Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) was due to hold a protest in Piazza Navona, a tourist-heavy square in central Rome, in which three abuse victims said they would hold up banners and photos of children.

Church rules tightened

The pope has condemned the crimes with growing intensity, has met with victims and has tightened church rules for dealing with abusers.

Special envoys from the Vatican have also been dispatched to Ireland this month to meet with victims and examine procedures for preventing abuse, with the Vatican saying the mission would help the church "purify itself".

But campaigners say the church has not done nearly enough.

Snap said senior clergy should reach out to victims who have not yet spoken out and "turn over to police and prosecutors the personnel files of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics".

It called on cardinals to "stop making symbolic gestures about the abuse".

Only last month, dozens of abuse victims from another US group held a protest in front of the Vatican, calling for the pope to be put on trial.

The abuse talks will be led by US Cardinal William Joseph Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body in charge of church dogma that was led for more than 20 years by the current pope.

Levada, a conservative who was previously the archbishop of San Francisco, has been heavily criticised by anti-abuse campaigners in the United States.

His archdiocese was successfully sued in 2002 by a whistleblowing priest, who claimed he was put under pressure by church authorities for reporting another priest for making apparent sexual advances on a teenage boy.

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi meanwhile played down expectations of any major outcome from Friday's meeting.

"It's a communication, information, clarification, reflection on some questions but not a very thorough examination," he said ahead of the talks.

Cardinals have a key role in the Roman Catholic Church because they elect new popes. The college of cardinals acts as a consultative body that has been likened to the supervisory board of a major multinational corporation.
Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  religion  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.