Vatican City: Pope Francis gathers bishops from around the world at the Vatican this week for a hotly-awaited summit on tackling the wave of child sex abuse scandals assailing the Catholic Church.
The heads of around 100 bishops’ conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the meeting on the protection of minors, with victims’ groups demanding that a concrete action plan on fighting paedophilia be drawn up.
The pope, who asked the bishops to speak to victims of abuse in their respective countries before the Rome convention, has tried to dial down “inflated expectations” for a cure-all. Several victims were also invited to the Vatican.
“I ask you to pray for this meeting,” the pope said Sunday, adding that he wanted the meeting “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time.” The conference aims to be an opportunity to improve awareness of the global phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors within the Church, despite many in Africa, Asia and the Middle East being in denial of what they call “a Western problem”.