Nun to Vatican Abuse Summit: “This Storm Will Not Pass By”

Nun to Vatican Abuse Summit: “This Storm Will Not Pass By” from CBN News

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A prominent Nigerian nun blasted the culture of silence that has long kept clergy sexual abuse hidden in the Catholic Church, telling a Vatican summit Saturday that transparency and an admission of mistakes were needed to restore trust.

A German cardinal backed her up, telling the summit that church files about abusers had been destroyed, victims silenced and church procedures ignored, canceled or overridden — all in an attempt to keep the scandal under wraps.

Sister Veronica Openibo and German Cardinal Reinhard Marx delivered powerful speeches to nearly 190 church leaders gathered Saturday for the third day of Pope Francis’ four-day tutorial on preventing abuse and protecting children.

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Sister Veronica Openibo, right, stands next to Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, left, and Father Tomaz Mavric, center. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)

Openibo was one of only a handful of women invited to the meeting, and she used her time at the podium to shame the church leadership as a whole — men and women alike — for their silence in the face of such crimes.

“How could the clerical church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” she asked. “We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a church.”

Marx, for his part, called for a redefinition of the Vatican’s legal code of secrecy, known as the “pontifical secret,” and for the publication of statistics about the problem. He said they would be a first step toward restoring trust with the faithful and preventing conspiracy theories that the church was continuing to hide abuse.

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