For the first time since the clerical child sex abuse scandal emerged the Pope has summoned the world’s cardinals to the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI has called 203 cardinals, including Ireland’s Sean Brady, to the summit which will take place next week.
Victims of pedophile abuse are skeptical of the latest move. They claim that most of the cardinals have poor histories when it comes to dealing with abuse cases.
Dubliner and author of “Altar Boy, A Story of Life After Abuse”, Andrew Madden, spoke to the Irish Times. He said “If the talks are anything like the Irish bishops' visit to Rome earlier this year, they will amount to nothing."
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said that the proof would be in what results come out of the summit. She said “To be swayed by mere talk is to betray vulnerable children and wounded adults.”
Terence McKiernan, president of the Boston-based BishopsAccountability.org asked that the cardinals issue a comprehensive report following the summit on their failings and what better policies they have planned for the future.
He said that progress had been made in the Catholic Church because of investigations and prosecutions by civil authorities.
He said “Yet Cardinal Sean Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, continues to reject calls that he resign, despite his failure in 1975 to report Rev Brendan Smyth to civil authorities…As a result of Brady's inaction, Smyth abused hundreds of children in Ireland and the United States over the next 20 years."
"The Vatican itself impeded the previous investigation of the Archdiocese of Dublin."
This summit is taking place on week before the anniversary of the Murphy Report which revealed hundreds of cases of child abuse by the clergy in the archdiocese of Dublin as well as cover-ups by the church over several decades.
It is expected that further details of the probe by outside church leaders into the four main archdioceses in Ireland, Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Tuam will emerge.
The Pope’s native Germany suffered revelations of clerical sexual abuse earlier this year along with Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, which were similar to cover-ups in Africa and Latin America.
Friday, November 19, will be set aside as a “day of reflection and prayer” in the Vatican’s synod hall. The talks were will held on the eve of the expansion by Pope Benedict of the college of cardinals when he confers Red Hats on 24 new Princes of the Church.
The summit will examine all the major issues facing the Church including admitting five Anglican bishops who disaffected following the acceptance of women priests and homosexual clergy. They will also discuss threats to religious freedom including the Middle East and the Churches relationship with other religions.