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13 September, 2018 11:19:15 AM

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Pope Francis Summons World’s Bishops to Meet on Sexual Abuse

Independent Online Desk/The New York times
Pope Francis Summons World’s Bishops to Meet on Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis at his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday.AP

Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world to Rome for an unprecedented meeting focused on protecting minors.

The order on Wednesday comes as the pope wrestles with a global clerical sexual abuse crisis and explosive accusations of a cover-up that have shaken his papacy and the entire Roman Catholic Church.

The extraordinary meeting marks the first time that presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide have been summoned for a meeting on a specific topic — more than 100 will be there — and the choice of topic was telling.

After three decades of denial, the Vatican is being forced to treat the sex abuse problem as a global crisis, and not the failing of a particular country or culture.

When the scandal first surfaced in the United States in the mid-1980s, Vatican officials called it an American phenomenon, church historians say. When it spread to Canada, Ireland, England and Australia, they framed it as a problem of the church in the English-speaking countries.

Then, when the scandal erupted in Germany, Belgium, France and Austria around 2010 during the papacy of Benedict XVI, the Vatican termed it a problem of the developed world, born of sexual libertinism.

Now, with cases of priests sexually abusing children emerging in Chile and the Philippines, the Vatican may finally be adopting an international approach.

“The subject has to be tackled globally,” said Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse who resigned in frustration in 2017 from a Vatican commission on protecting minors created by Francis. “There are bishops in parts of the world who don’t even accept that abuse could happen in their dioceses.”

Collins said she welcomed news of a global meeting of bishops, but only if it produces concrete actions, and not just more talk.

The pope called on the bishops’ conference presidents to gather from Feb 21 to Feb 24, the Vatican said.

“It’s a crucial decision by the pope, because the conferences play a crucial role in implementing all the prevention measures to protect against sexual abuse in the church,” said Professor Ernesto Caffo, a member of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

HM

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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