Pope Francis ended his landmark four-day summit on clerical sex abuse in Rome with sharp words, but little in the way of concrete measures to combat the cover-up of systematic sex abuse by clergy. Comparing sex abuse of children to human sacrifice, the pontiff called for “an all-out battle against the abuse of minors.” His final remarks came on the final day of the conference, which was attended by around 190 Catholic leaders including about a dozen women, which has seen a victim vigils in St. Peter’s square and fire and brimstone speeches in the conference hall. Francis promised that “if in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse—which already in itself represents an atrocity—that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness.” He said the 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.” Victim groups expressed disappointment with a lack of concrete steps to stop the cover up of abuse in the pope’s final remarks. Francis will be delivering a teaching document on the summit on March 25.
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