Apologies and revelations before Catholic sex abuse summit
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 2/19/19, 12:45 pm
Catholic religious orders from around the world issued public apologies on Tuesday for failing to address sexual abuse of children by their priests. Two umbrella organizations representing the global religious orders of the Catholic Church—the Union of Superiors General for male orders and the International Union of Superiors General for female orders—issued a joint statement days before a sexual abuse summit organized by Pope Francis is set to begin on Thursday. Religious orders, including the Jesuits, Salesians, and Christian Brothers, have some of the worst records of abuse but have largely evaded criticism, with the focus falling on diocesan bishops protecting parish priests. “We want to act with humility. We want to see our blind spots. We want to name any abuse of power,” the religious leaders said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Vatican confirmed on Monday that it had secret guidelines for how to handle priests who break celibacy vows and father children, The New York Times reported. “I can confirm these guidelines exist,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told the Times. “It is an internal document.” The newspaper interviewed a man who is the son of a priest and runs an online support group for the children of priests. He said his organization, Coping International, has 50,000 members in 175 countries.
Organizers of the Vatican summit plan to meet on Wednesday with a dozen abuse victims to hear their complaints and demands for action.
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Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.