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clerical abuse
February 24, 2019

Pope Francis closed the Vatican's sexual abuse summit with a Mass on Sunday.

Speaking before 190 Catholic bishops and other church leaders summoned from around the world to Rome for the summit, Francis called for an "all-out battle" to end sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy. "No abuse should ever be covered up — as was often the case in the past — or not taken sufficiently seriously," he said. The pope did not provide specific steps the church will take to address the issue going forward.

The first two days of the three-day summit centered on the responsibility of church leaders in dealing with both victims and perpetrators of clerical abuse. But Saturday, which was focused on transparency, proved to be the most eventful day.

Sister Veronica Openibo, a prominent Nigerian nun and one of only a handful of women invited to the gathering, criticized the "culture of silence" in the church and told leaders they must admit their mistakes "to restore trust among the faithful." Meanwhile, Reinhard Marx, a German cardinal, admitted that church files about abuse cases had been destroyed — or not even created in the first place — and victims were silenced. Tim O'Donnell

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