Source: Associated Press
By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis’ summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and ordinary Catholics outraged over a scandal that has harmed so many and compromised the church’s moral authority so much.
Indeed, no sweeping new law was announced to punish bishops who cover up abuse. No files were released or global reporting requirement endorsed requiring priestly rapists to be reported to police. In his final speech to the summit Sunday, Pope Francis even fell back on the hierarchy’s frequent complaint of unfair press coverage.
But something has changed.
By inviting the leaders of Catholic bishops conferences and religious orders from around the world to a four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse, Francis has made clear that they all are responsible for protecting the children in their care and must punish the priests who might violate them, or risk punishment themselves.