Pope Opens Summit on Sexual Abuse: ‘Hear the Cry of the Little Ones’ – The New York Times

Minutes earlier, the last bishops, wearing their black cassocks and red sashes and skullcaps, made their way across St. Peter’s Square in the clear morning light.

They came amid a backdrop of feverishly high expectations from abuse survivors, many of whom had descended on Rome to meet with the church’s leading officials on the issue.

But they were also there to march, protest and make their anger known to the news media, reflecting the frustration with the Vatican’s inability to confront — and in many parts of the world, even acknowledge — a problem that has devoured the church from within for decades now.

Advocates for other victims of abuse and secrecy in the church, including for the children of priests and for nuns raped by clerics, were also there. They are meeting with church leaders and giving an endless stream of interviews to an army of journalists from around the world who are demonstrating more interest in the Vatican than in perhaps any time since the conclave that elected Pope Francis in 2013.

The meeting on Thursday morning will focus on the responsibilities of church leaders, many of whom are still not exactly sure what to do when confronted with accusations of abuse by priests. The theme on Friday is accountability, something that advocates for victims have charged is sorely missing among the church leadership — an accusation that church officials have acknowledged has merit.

Friday will also focus on transparency in addressing the problem, and the church has made much out of its plans to live stream part of the meeting on the internet.

They first presentation on Thursday will be given by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, of the Philippines, widely considered a contender to be the next pope, even as he has come under criticism from victims’ groups for his apparent lack of commitment to zero-tolerance policies.

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