Pope calls for action against paedophilia

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Image: REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Pope Francis on Thursday opened a landmark Vatican summit on fighting child sex abuse, saying the world expected concrete measures on tackling paedophilia in the Catholic Church.

Over the next 3½ days, the pontiff will hold talks with bishops from around the world to discuss the Church’s response to child abuse by members of the clergy.

“The holy people of God look to us, and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken,” he said as the summit opened, the first of its kind.

“Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.”

The ongoing scandal has again escalated in a crisis which has touched many countries across the globe, with recent cases affecting Chile, Germany and the US.

The 82-year-old pontiff hopes to raise awareness about abuse through prayers, speeches, working groups and testimonies from victims.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, speaking at the assembly said: “Our lack of response to the suffering of victims, even to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution, has injured our people, leaving a deep wound in our relationship with those we are sent to serve.”