Analysis: What Vatican’s sex abuse prevention summit got right — and what it missed

Analysis: What Vatican’s sex abuse prevention summit got right — and what it missed

VATICAN CITY  — Pope Francis’ summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and

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VATICAN CITY  — Pope Francis’ summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and ordinary Catholics outraged over a scandal that has harmed so many and compromised the church’s moral authority so much.Story continues below

Indeed, no sweeping new law was announced to punish bishops who cover up abuse. No files were released or global reporting requirement endorsed requiring priestly rapists to be reported to police. In his final speech to the summit Sunday, Pope Francis even fell back on the hierarchy’s frequent complaint of unfair press coverage.READ MORE: Nun at Vatican sexual abuse summit calls out culture of silenceBut something has changed.By inviting the leaders of Catholic bishops conferences and religious orders from around the world to a four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse, Francis has made clear that they all are responsible for protecting the children in their care and must punish the priests who might violate them, or risk punishment themselves.“In people’s justified anger, the church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons,” the pontiff said.And yet as strong as his words were, it was actually the handful of women invited to address the summit who drove the message home most forcefully. That too speaks volumes about the future of an institution where women are officially barred from the hierarchy’s ranks but are increasingly raising their voices and walking out when they aren’t heard.WATCH: Nun scolds Roman Catholic bishops for mistakes handling sexual abuse crisis

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