Pope Francis will be holding global meeting of Catholic bishops to discussing steps to prevent clerical sex abuse, The New York Times has reported.
The Papal order that was issued on Wednesday (12 September) comes in the light of the Catholic Church facing a grave crisis triggered by a series of clerical sexual abuse scandals and explosive allegations against the Pope of being complicit in the cover-up of abuses by predatory priests. The crisis has also triggered protests and calls for the resignation of the Pope, and has shaken the faith of millions of followers of the Roman Catholic Church around the world.
The unprecedented meeting of bishops is being seen as an acknowledgement by the Vatican of the scale of the sex abuse problem, which can no longer be dismissed as a failing of a particular country or culture.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, has levelled serious allegations against Pope Francis of not only willfully covering up sex abuse allegations against disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for years, but also actively promoting him within the church hierarchy before accepting his resignation.
The decision to hold a meeting comes at a time when a report commissioned by the German Catholic Church has revealed shocking details of abuse.
The report, which is based on 38,000 documents from 27 dioceses, has admitted to at least 3,766 cases of child sex abuse by Christian clergymen between 1946 and 2014. The study revealed that the victims of clerical sexual abuse were mostly boys, more than half of whom were aged 13 or younger. The study also established that every sixth case of abuse was a rape. At least 1,670 clergy members were involved in the acts of abuse, the report says.