The following comes from a Jan. 28 story from Catholic News Agency.
Vatican City — Pope Francis said that he sensed “inflated expectation” surrounding the Vatican’s February sex abuse summit, and outlined his specific aims for the meeting.
Speaking on the papal flight returning from Panama, the pope said he wanted the world’s bishops to receive a “catechesis” on the suffering of abuse survivors, and understand better the urgent reality of combating sexual abuse. This understanding, he said, would lead into a penitential liturgy during the February meeting.
“There will be testimonies to help to become aware and then a penitential liturgy to ask forgiveness for the whole Church,” Pope Francis told journalists Jan 28. The pope emphasized the importance of bishops meeting with victims of sex abuse to hear their testimonies directly to understand the lasting effects of sexual abuse.
Pope Francis said that he regularly meets with abuse victims. “I remember one … 40 years without being able to pray. It is terrible, the suffering is terrible,” he said.
“I permit myself to say that I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation. We need to deflate the expectations to these points that I’m saying,” he said. “Because the problem of abuses will continue. It’s a human problem.”
“We, resolving the problem in the Church, [and] raising awareness, will help to resolve it in society … but first, we must become aware, have the protocols, and move forward,” he said.
On the papal flight, Pope Francis expressed his desire that the heads all of the episcopal conferences leave Rome next month with a common understanding of the “protocols” needed to address sexual abuse in their respective countries.
The pope said that each episcopal conference would make “general programs” detailing the responsibilities of each local Church authority for handling sex abuse cases.
“That they are protocols that are clear. This is the main thing,” he said.