VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Latest on the sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican (all times local):
A top German cardinal has called for changes to the Vatican’s legal code of secrecy that is imposed on sex abuse cases and for the publication of statistics about the problem as necessary measures to restore trust from the faithful in the Catholic hierarchy.
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told Pope Francis’ sex abuse prevention summit Saturday that the church’s failed administration of the problem – including the destruction of files about abusers, the silencing of victims and the disregard for church procedures – had worsened the crisis and was driving the faithful away.
He said the church must redefine confidentiality and secrecy in handling such cases or risk accusations of cover-up and the spread of “conspiracy theories” that the church is trying to hide and shield abusers.
A prominent Nigerian nun has blasted the culture of silence in the Catholic Church that has long sought to hide clergy sexual abuse, telling a Vatican summit that transparency and an admission of mistakes is needed to restore trust.
In a powerful speech Saturday, Sister Veronica Openibo told Pope Francis’ gathering of the Catholic hierarchy that African and Asian church leaders must no longer justify their silence about sexual violence by claiming that poverty and conflict are more serious issues for the church.
Openibo warned: “This storm will not pass by.”
She called for discussion on a host of controversial issues to address the scandal, including lay participation in the selection of bishops, whether seminaries for young boys are really healthy and why abusers aren’t dismissed from the clergy.