"Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice". "We need to be concrete".
When he was elected in 2013, Pope Francis called for "decisive action" on the issue, but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.
Catholic leaders will gather at the Vatican from Thursday until Sunday for the summit on child sexual abuse. The four-day summit, convened by the Pope last September, will include two speeches by Francis, talks outlining best practices, small group discussions among bishops and a penitential ceremony involving abuse survivors. "We have to recognize that the enemy is within", he said.
The event included audio testimony from five abuse victims, one of whom spoke of the "total loss of the innocence of my youth" and a ticking "time bomb" that could destroy "whole generations" of children and skeptical reactions from church authorities after reporting the abuse.More news: Alabama woman who joined ISIS can’t return home, U.S. says
And in his address this morning, Cardinal Tagle stressed that bishops can not close their eyes to abuse.
"The abuse of minors by ordained ministers has inflicted wounds not only on the victims, but also on their families, the clergy, the church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the bishops", Tagle said. The result, he said, had left a "deep wound in our relationship with those we are sent to serve".
Victims of sexual abuse say the Vatican has hidden behind these walls, when they should have been cracking down on predator priests. Responsibility was the main theme for Thursday. "The Catholic world is adrift, ' the American and German cardinals wrote in their letter to the heads of the bishops" conferences.
Church officials have called the four-day meeting one phase in a long process, not a cure-all for the scourge. The goal, he said, is to hear abuse survivors speak about their experiences, to teach bishops about the church's procedures to deal with abusive clergy and to seek forgiveness.More news: "RTGS Dollars": RBZ Governor John Mangudya Introduces New Currency
With his own papacy and the Catholic hierarchy at large facing a credibility crisis, Francis has now vowed to chart a new course and is bringing the rest of the church leadership along with him.
"If we want to be agents of healing let us reject any tendency that is part of worldly thinking that refuses to see and touch the wounds of others, which are Christ's wounds in the wounded people", he said. "This is not the endgame".
Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican's top sexual abuse investigator, said the Church had to look at how priests and bishops are appointed.More news: Wilson-Raybould, out of cabinet, seeks place in Liberal caucus