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Don't stand in way of justice for abuse victims, churchgoers told

Don't stand in way of justice for abuse victims, churchgoers told

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a conference on paedophilia in the Church that procedures to prosecute offenders "were deliberately not complied with".

Francis summoned the bishops for the four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and protecting children after the scandal erupted again previous year in Chile and the U.S. While the Vatican for two decades has tried to crack down on the abusers themselves, it has largely given a pass to the bishops and superiors who moved the predators around from parish to parish.

Francis opened the four-day summit by telling the Catholic hierarchy that their own responsibility to deal effectively with priests who rape and molest children weighed on the proceedings.

"At the present time, we are in a state of crisis and shame", she added.

"I don't see how anyone can continue to bring their child to a church that will not promise their child's safety", she said.

"Mothers and fathers have called us to account, for they simply can not comprehend how we as bishops and religious superiors have often been blinded to the scope and damage of sexual abuse of minors", he said.

"It's a global issue", she said, noting that, while many nations lack mandatory reporting laws that can aid abuse victims, such disparities should spur the church to do more, not less.

"In large part it is the witness of the laity, especially mothers and fathers with great love for the church, who have pointed out movingly and forcefully how gravely incompatible the commission, cover-up and toleration of clergy sexual abuse is with the very meaning and essence of the church", he said.

Gracias, the Indian cardinal, opened the session by saying bishops must hold themselves accountable and work together to address the problem because it is not confined to a particular region.

Before it started, some victims' groups said the conference was an attempt to cleanse the image of the 1.3 billion-member church.

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Among them was Alberto Athie of Mexico, one of the original accusers of the pedophile founder of the Legion of Christ, the Rev. Marcial Maciel.

More than three decades later, she's back in Rome for a historic summit on clergy abuse.

Openibo, the superior of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus religious order, told African and Asian church leaders they must no longer justify their silence about sexual violence by claiming that poverty and conflict are more serious issues for the church.

"This storm will not pass by", she warned them. The group also accused the Pope of allowing cardinals and bishops "who have had an active role in covering up" sex abuse to attend the summit, saying it showed they were "able to openly flout the very policies created to hold them accountable".

On the first day of this summit on February 21 last, the Church leaders heard searing pre-recorded video testimonials from abuse survivors, including one made pregnant thrice by a priest who had stated abusing the victim when she was 15 only, the "New York Times" has reported.

"I admire you, Brother Francis, for taking time as a true Jesuit, to discern and be humble enough to change your mind, to apologize and take action - an example for all of us", she told the pope.

Participants seemed to appreciate the lessons of the summit. "And that is a crime", Rozzi said emphatically.

'And if everybody is on the same page then we will do more to make sure that this doesn't happen again in the church'.

The summit will end on Sunday with a closing speech by the pope. As archbishop in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he played a decisive and divisive role in Argentina's most famous abuse case, commissioning a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.

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