'We can't do this on our own:' Catholic leaders speak ahead of summit addressing sexual abuse

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

VATICAN CITY - Leaders of the Catholic Church spoke Monday morning ahead of a summit happening this week to discuss revelations of sexual abuse in the church.

According to a news conference, the summit will focus on responsibility, accountability and transparency.

“We believe is it important for all of us as we come here to carry in our hearts the suffering that those who have been abused have each and every day of their lives,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.

Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, archbishop of Malta said, “We can’t do this on our own. We need all the help we can get. The flock is not our own. It is the flock of Jesus Christ.”

Pope Francis called for prayers Sunday and said the goal for the four-day summit is to outline clear protocols for bishops on how to prevent abuse and help victims.

On Saturday, former American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood.

McCarrick, once a leading figure in the U.S. Catholic Church, was found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.

Local survivor and leader of Houston Chapter of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, Michael Norris, says he has low expectations for the summit.

“We don’t want words, we don’t want promises, we want action,” Norris said. “What I would like to see is the pope fire some of these cardinals and bishops who have allowed this to go on for so long. The problem with that is, if he does that, there won’t be any cardinals or bishops left. They all have blood on their hands.”

Organizers of the summit will meet on Wednesday with a dozen survivors who have gone to Rome to protest the Catholic church's response and demand an end to the decades of cover-up by leaders.

Those survivors will not address the rest of the more than 180 presidents of bishops during the summit.

The pope will speak on the last day of the summit but says not to expect a long speech.

The four-day summit begins Thursday and will end Sunday.

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