Pope moving slowly towards addressing abuse scandals

The Pope has been justifiably criticised for his tardiness in addressing multiple abuse scandals in the Catholic Church around the world.  He seems to be slowly moving towards being seen to be doing something about it.

Pope Francis is insisting that bishops attending his high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit will learn the laws to use against predators, how to care for victims and will make sure that no cleric abuse cases are covered up again.

The Vatican on Wednesday provided details about the Feb. 21-24 meeting, saying its main aim is to guarantee that bishops around the world “clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors.”

It’s extremely late to be making sure that bishops understand laws related to sexual predators, but at least it is happening.

Francis announced in September that he was inviting presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world to attend the summit amid a crisis in his papacy over his own botched handling of sex abuse cases and a new explosion of the scandal in the U.S., Chile and beyond.

Francis has a blemished record on handling sex abuse cases.

As a cardinal in Argentina, Francis commissioned an external legal study into the case of a popular priest accused of abuse whose conviction was upheld by the country’s supreme court. Last year, he strongly defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering for a notorious predator.

The Pope himself has had a major learning curve on this.

Francis has also been accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual misconduct with adults by the American ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. And the pope is now under the spotlight because an Argentine bishop whose career he promoted, first in Argentina and now at the Holy See, is under investigation for sexual misconduct with seminarians.

The Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, said Francis realized the problem is global and must be addressed globally by the church.

The problems (plural, many, over a long time) have not been dealt with abysmally up until now.

The summit may be a move in the right direction but there looks to be a long way to go for the pope and the Catholic Church to repair extensive damage that has been done, both to many lives of victims over decades, and also to the reputation of the church.