Pope vows war on abuse; survivors say let down

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 24, 2019 - Duration: 01:50s

Pope vows war on abuse; survivors say let down

Pope Francis has promised zero tolerance on sex abuse at the end of a landmark conference.

But survivors and activists say without concrete action such as defrocking abusing bishops, they don't trust the Church to police itself.

Lucy Fielder reports

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Pope vows war on abuse; survivors say let down

Pope Francis declared an all-out war on "abominable" abuse crimes Sunday, at the end of a landmark conference.

And that the Church will become "completely safe" for minors.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS, SAYING: "If there should emerge even a single case of abuse in the Church, which already in itself represents an atrocity, that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness." But survivors who have flocked to Rome call it a "stunning let down".

Instead of prayers, like this one, for the victims -- or what they called "old promises" -- they wanted concrete action from the four-day conference.

It was the Church's first on sex abuse -- despite decades of allegations.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS (SNAP) PRESIDENT, TIM LENNON, SAYING: "I was very disappointed that no action was taken.

We feel that it's exceptionally important to take action, hopefully to remove some of those bishops that cover up sexual abuse or have sexually abused themselves." Last year was one that shook the Church.

Shattering its once unassailable power in Ireland, where the Pope's visit in August shone a light on decades of abuse.

While in Chile, all of the country's bishops offered their resignations, seven of which the pope accepted, over a vast cover-up of the sexual abuse of children.

The pope called abusing clergy "the tools of Satan", and promised to tighten guidelines, and raise the definition of minor from the current age of 14.

Victims and activists though say they don't trust the church to police itself.

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