ShareThis Page
Religious orders apologize for abuse cover-up before summit | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Religious orders apologize for abuse cover-up before summit

Associated Press
| Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:02 a.m
770623_web1_770623-7c673a1737274d00be9213f102f890f6
AP
Members of the ECA (Ending of Clergy Abuse) organization and survivors of clergy sex abuse pose for photographers outside St. Peter’s Square, at he Vatican, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Organizers of Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse will meet this week with a dozen survivor-activists who have come to Rome to protest the Catholic Church’s response to date and demand an end to decades of cover-up by church leaders.

VATICAN CITY — Catholic religious orders from around the world apologized Tuesday for having failed to respond when their priests raped children, acknowledging that their family-like communities blinded them to sexual abuse and led to misplaced loyalties, denial and cover-ups.

The two umbrella organizations representing the world’s religious orders issued a joint statement ahead of Pope Francis’ sex abuse prevention summit, which opens Thursday. They vowed to implement accountability measures going forward to ensure that cover-ups by religious superiors end and that children are always safe in the presence of clergy.

With a few exceptions, religious orders have largely flown under the radar in the decades-long scandal, since the focus has been on how diocesan bishops protected their priests and moved them from parish to parish where they were free to abuse again.

Yet congregations such as the Jesuits, Salesians and Christian Brothers have some of the worst records, since they too moved abusers around and had easy access to young victims, since many orders specialize in running schools.

The Union of Superiors General represents the leadership of male religious orders, which count around 133,000 priests globally. The female branch, the International Union of Superiors General, represents some 500,000 religious sisters. They will each send around a dozen representatives to the Vatican sex abuse summit.

In the statement, the groups said they were ashamed at how they had failed the most vulnerable they were meant to serve and blamed “the strong sense of family” that their communities fostered for having blinded them to the warning signs.

“It resulted in a misplaced loyalty, errors in judgment, slowness to act, denial and at times, cover-up,” they said. “We still need conversion and we want to change. We want to act with humility. We want to see our blind spots. We want to name any abuse of power.”

To that end, the statement also condemned recent revelations of priests and bishops who sexually abused seminarians and nuns — an abuse of power that has largely gone unpunished since the victims are adults.

While noting the pope’s summit is focused on the protection of minors, the groups pledged to find a response.

“This is a matter of grave and shocking concern,” they said.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.