Pope Wraps Up Landmark Vatican Summit Addressing Sexual Abuse

The Pope hosted 190 church leaders from across the world for a four-day summit on fighting sex abuse within the church.
Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 24, 2019

Pope Francis wrapped up a four-day sexual abuse summit at the Vatican with a rousing speech, but some critics say it didn't do enough.

Speaking on sexual abuse, the pope said the Catholic Church feels called "to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of her mission, which is to preach the gospel to the little ones and to protect them from ravenous wolves." 

He also said the church will take all sexual abuse cases seriously, work to prevent any cover-ups and punish any clergy found guilty of such acts.

But some critics say the Pope didn't sufficiently outline any definite plans or policy changes. The leader of one sex abuse survivor advocacy group called the pope's speech "a stunning letdown" and told The New York Times, "As the world's Catholics cry out for change, the pope instead provides tepid promises, all of which we've heard before."

The purpose of the summit may not have been to outline policy changes. The pope previously said he wanted to educate bishops on the reality of sex abuse in the church, as some reportedly didn't believe it was a widespread problem.

After the speech, the Vatican announced several measures it plans to implement,  including a new child protection policy and guidelines meant to help prevent abuse in the near future. There also may be some revisions to current policies aimed at improving transparency and bishop accountability within the church.

Additional reporting done by Newsy affiliate CNN.