Victims of sexual abuse and members of ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) demonstrate in Rome © Alessandra Tarantino
Bishops' meeting on abuse in the church has caused disappointment among victims. While Pope Francis ared that the Church would pursue each case with "utmost seriousness," they nevertheless hoped for concrete measures to be taken.
With disappointment, victims have acknowledged the four-day anti-abuse summit at the Vatican. Victims had expected a different ending at the end of Sunday's worldwide meeting – "at least the announcement of the expulsion of various bishops," Francesco Zanardi, spokesman for the Italian victims' association "Rete l'abuso," told the Italian daily "La Repubblica" (Monday).
"Only words instead of deeds"
The names of abuse-covering bishops are known, he said, and he cannot understand what is being waited for. There had been "once again only words instead of deeds". "If the Pope sees the Church as a victim, he should report priests who abuse children to civil courts and demand compensation for the Church," Zanardi said.
A Swiss abuse victim also criticized the outcome of the worldwide meeting of bishops. The concrete actions demanded by Pope Francis at the beginning were lacking in the end, Jean-Marie Furbringer told the "Messaggero" (Monday). "We victims would have liked to know what the Pope is doing already from tomorrow with the bishops who covered up child abuse," he told the Italian daily newspaper.
Demand: along the perpetrators from the priesthood
"Zero tolerance" for child abuse in the Catholic Church must finally be realized, the Swiss said. The victims demanded the removal of perpetrators from the priesthood and likewise bishops guilty of all cover-ups. Transparency is needed; civil society has a right to be informed about cases.
On the Vatican's announcement of new rules against abuse in the Vatican State, Furbringer said, "If it is true that these important documents are already available, why have they not yet been published?" Zanardi commented on the announcement of the new papal decree against abuse, saying the Vatican should start pushing to implement the previous decree.
Some 190 presidents of bishops' conferences, religious leaders from around the world and heads of Vatican agencies had been discussing abuse cases and child protection in the Catholic Church from Thursday to Sunday at the Vatican. Some abuse victims reported at the meeting and put forward their demands. Pope Francis had for the first time convened a church summit on dealing with abuse.