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Analysis: What can the Vatican sex abuse summit deliver?

.- At a press conference in Rome this morning, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago underscored the scope and expectations around this week’s global Vatican summit on sexual abuse.

The cardinal made it clear that the three-day meeting was strictly dealing with the abuse of minors, and would not look at wider issues of clerical sexual abuse – most notably the sexual abuse of adults, including seminarians.

Cupich warned that “including other topics” would “inflate expectations” and distract from “the task at hand.”

The cardinal’s comments came barely 48 hours after it was announced that Theodore McCarrick had been expelled from the clerical state for a number of sexual abuse-related offences, including adult seminarians in dioceses he formerly led.

The hour-long question and answer session offered more details about the aims of the summit, which will include the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world. But the scrupulously narrow focus on minors, and the stated objectives of the conference raise a number of questions about what American Catholics, including many bishops, can hope to see from Rome in response to months of scandal.

The clear goal of the meeting is to impress upon the world’s bishops the seriousness of dealing with child sexual abuse at all levels of the Church hierarchy. To this end, Cupich highlighted measures already in place in the United States which, he noted, were proving successful, such as safe environment programs and enhanced screening of seminary candidates.

More broadly, bishops in the United States have noted the effectiveness of the 2002 reforms brought in by the Dallas Charter and USCCB Essential Norms, which have coincided with a steep decline in reported abuse cases.

But if the wider purpose of the three-day meeting is to impress the seriousness of the child abuse crisis on bishops from elsewhere, and even underscore effective measures already in place in the U.S., American focus remains on accountability for bishops and abuse cases of all kinds involving them personally.

Read more at Catholic News Agency, 

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