Pope Francis Kicks Off Sex Abuse Summit in Rome

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"We need to be concrete".

"What I present here is a framework for constructing new legal structures of accountability in the church", Cupich said, in a speech that implied that such structures are very much in the works at the Holy See.

The Pope, for his part, handed out a list of 21 proposals for the church to consider, including specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops.

In a statement, Gingrich says the USA supports Pope Francis' commitment to protecting children, and said victims should pursue justice.

The cardinal said it was essential that victims felt "that they can trust the system". For many victims, it's a chance to seek justice.

Sister Veronica Openibo and German Cardinal Reinhard Marx delivered powerful speeches to almost 190 church leaders gathered Saturday for the third day of Pope Francis' four-day tutorial on preventing abuse and protecting children.

They argued that collegiality means bishops have a collective responsibility for child protection and that synodality requires the involvement of laity in the investigations to hold bishops accountable.

Bishops should not rely on the Holy See to "come up with all the answers", and national-level bishops' conferences can instead draw up concrete steps, he said.

Hours before the Vatican summit opened, activists in Poland pulled down a statue of a priest accused of sexually abusing minors.

Those procedures, which called for a code of conduct for bishops and a third-party confidential reporting system, ran into legal snags a year ago at the Vatican, which blocked USA bishops from voting on them in November.

Gracias is a member of Pope Francis's cabinet and one of the chief organizers of the summit. They said the stunt was to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church in resolving the problem of clergy sex abuse. "No bishop may say to himself, "This problem of abuse in the Church does not concern me, because things are different in my part of the world", he said.

"A day after the incident, we took our boy to a private doctor who refused to touch him, saying it was a police case", the mother said.

"This, brothers and sisters, is just not true".

But Anne Barrett-Doyle of bishopaccountablity.org, which tracks abuse cases around the world, said she was pleasantly surprised by the pope's opening remarks.

Leona Huggins, the only Canadian in the gathering that took place ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican this week, said the energy built "like a tsunami" as victims hailing from Spain to Jamaica urged clergy to take concrete action to begin a new chapter for the church.

"Why was Gracias allowed to speak at the papal summit?"

"While the U.S. church has been working for the past two decades to develop safe environment policies, in many countries in the world that has not yet happened", he said.

But it appeared that the Vatican may have chosen as speakers precisely those cardinals whose own national churches have not confronted the scandal openly.

In an interview with CBS News, Cupich said the last time a priest fathered a child in the Chicago archdiocese was almost 20 years ago, and that the children were provided financial support through college age.

"The abuse of minors by ordained ministers has inflicted wounds not only on the victims, but also on their families, the clergy, the church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the bishops", he said.

Responding to the testimonies, Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle challenged and demanded church leaders to no longer disregard the harm caused by abuse.