Pope Francis calls meeting of bishops to tackle church's abuse crisis

To tackle the church’s abuse crisis, Pope Francis has invited the president of every Catholic Bishop’s Conference in the world to a meeting which will take place in Rome from 21 to 24 February next year.

One of those invited is President of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge. In a media statement Archbishop Coleridge said:

“I welcome Pope Francis’ decision to convene a meeting of the presidents of Bishops Conferences to discuss the Church’s ongoing efforts to address the immense harm caused by sexual abuse.

“Such a meeting is unusual, but it is appropriate and justified as the Church internationally must stand united to eliminate this evil from our midst.

“As the Australian bishops and leaders of Catholic religious orders said last month, so must the universal Church say as one: Never again.

“I will go to Rome armed with our understanding gained from decades working to eliminate child sexual abuse and the toxic cultures that allowed it to happen. I will also go with the stories of survivors in my heart and the many things we have learnt from the Royal Commission.”

The Pope’s invitation to this meeting comes shortly after he issued a letter to every Catholic last month speaking of the crisis and how the church must prevent sexual abuse from being "covered up and perpetuated".

Exactly what will be discussed in the meeting has not yet been announced.

Archbishop Coleridge said of the meeting: “The meeting in February will be no quick fix, but it is a step in the right direction and may be able to suggest to Pope Francis further steps to be taken.”

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle