Francis presides at final Mass to conclude sex abuse summit

Sister Veronica Openibo right stands next to Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich left and Father Tomaz Mavric center as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive at the third day of a Vatican's conference on dealing with sex abuse by priests

Pope Francis compares child sex abuse to human sacrifice

"As the world's Catholics cry out for concrete change, the pope instead provides tepid promises, all of which we've heard before", she said.

Protecting children against paedophiles is a complex process.

"In abuse and its concealment, the powerful [of the Church] show themselves not men of heaven but men of earth", he said.

In his lengthy speech, Francis said the Church would draw inspiration from the "best practices" in the Seven strategies for Ending Violence Against Children, measures developed under the guidance of the World Health Organization.

Following his speech, the Vatican announced that legal rulings on the "protection of minor and vulnerable persons" concerning the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State would soon be issued.

After the conference, the Vatican says it will formulate follow-up measures to make sure all bishop return home knowing how to put anti-abuse procedures into place.

It was was flagged as a landmark summit, but Australian survivors of clerical abuse and their families say the four-day meeting at the Vatican failed to achieve anything meaningful.

The Pope has already handed to the bishops 21 points of reflection which examines the screening of candidates, the swift reporting of allegations and codes of conduct for church leaders.

"Especially distressing was the Pope's familiar rationalisation that abuse happens in all sectors of society".

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx on Saturday said the Catholic Church destroyed files to prevent documentation of decades of sexual abuse of children by clergy members.

In one concrete step, Francis said he wanted to change church law on child pornography, so that the act would be considered a "grave delict" if it involved children under the age of 18, not just those under 14. We needed him to offer a bold and decisive plan.

So while organizers of the summit in advance warned that expectations should not be set too high, and while critics would certainly argue that more ought to be done, there were at least some signs of progress, and for the first global gathering on the abuse issue, leaving with a universal recognition that it is in fact everyone's problem is not the worst place to close the discussion.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and a leading figure at the summit, said February 24 that while changes in law are good, the most important thing is "a change of heart" and conversion, "to be more like the Good Shepherd, taking care of the little ones and the most vulnerable".

"Not only is this a problem to solve but this is at the heart of the church", Cupich said.

The archbishop is also adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and it is this department which is drafting a "vademecum" on the legal and pastoral responsibilities the bishops to tackle abuse. "From keeping the world's eyes on this institution and its failure to protect children, it's been a great success", he said.

The Catholic church, like other organisations such as schools, sports clubs and the BBC, has proved attractive to paedophiles because it has enabled them to have contact with children in a way that avoids suspicion as to their real motives, and allows them to avoid detection.

Several cardinals, archbishops and canon lawyers at the conference said the Church should stop applying the "pontifical secret" sex abuse trials, because, instead of guaranteeing confidentiality it was often used to hide problems.

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