The Latest: Dozens march through Rome over church abuse

Published 02-23-2019

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VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Latest on the sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Several dozen Catholics from Italy and abroad have marched through Rome to protest the Vatican's handling of pedophile priests.

Placards held by abuse survivors and their supporters denounced Vatican "silences," while other posters call for "Secular justice for all." Many advocates say the church must let civil authorities investigate and prosecute priests who molest or rape children.

The march Saturday was staged as Pope Francis' four-day summit was underway to chart abuse prevention strategies.

Abuse by pedophile clergy is just beginning to gain national attention in predominantly Catholic Italy, where priests are heroes in TV sitcoms and parishes run recreational programs for children, since public schools don't do so.

A young Italian, Alessandro Battaglia, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with "survivor," marched as part of his campaign for the Italian church to crack down on pedophile priests.-

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12:30 p.m.

A top German cardinal has called for changes to the Vatican's legal code of secrecy that is imposed on sex abuse cases and for the publication of statistics about the problem as necessary measures to restore trust from the faithful in the Catholic hierarchy.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told Pope Fr

A young Italian, Alessandro Battaglia, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with "survivor," marched as part of his campaign for the Italian church to crack down on pedophile priests.-

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12:30 p.m.

A top German cardinal has called for changes to the Vatican's legal code of secrecy that is imposed on sex abuse cases and for the publication of statistics about the problem as necessary measures to restore trust from the faithful in the Catholic hierarchy.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told Pope Francis' sex abuse prevention summit Saturday that the church's failed administration of the problem - including the destruction of files about abusers, the silencing of victims and the disregard for church procedures - had worsened the crisis and was driving the faithful away.

He said the church must redefine confidentiality and secrecy in handling such cases or risk accusations of cover-up and the spread of "conspiracy theories" that the church is trying to hide and shield abusers.

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10:30 a.m.

A prominent Nigerian nun

12:30 p.m.

A top German cardinal has called for changes to the Vatican's legal code of secrecy that is imposed on sex abuse cases and for the publication of statistics about the problem as necessary measures to restore trust from the faithful in the Catholic hierarchy.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told Pope Francis' sex abuse prevention summit Saturday that the church's failed administration of the problem - including the destruction of files about abusers, the silencing of victims and the disregard for church procedures - had worsened the crisis and was driving the faithful away.

He said the church must redefine confidentiality and secrecy in handling such cases or risk accusations of cover-up and the spread of "conspiracy theories" that the church is trying to hide and shield abusers.

___

10:30 a.m.

A prominent Nigerian nun has blasted the culture of silence in the Catholic Church that has long sought to hide clergy sexual abuse, telling a Vatican summit that transparency and an admission of mistakes is needed to restore trust.

In a powerful speech Saturday, Sister Veronica Openibo told Pope Francis' gathering of the Catholic hierarchy that African and Asian church leaders must no longer justify their silence about sexual violence by claiming that poverty and conflict are more serious issues for the church.

Openibo warned: "This storm will not pass by."

She called for discussion on a host of controversial issues to address the scandal, including lay participation in the selection of bishops, whether seminaries for young boys are really healthy and why abusers aren't dismissed from the clergy.

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Sex abuse survivors and members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), hold a wooden cross as they march in downtown Rome, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) - The Associated Press


Sex abuse survivors and members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), march in downtown Rome, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) - The Associated Press


Cardinals and bishops pray with Pope Francis at the beginning of the third day of a Vatican's conference on dealing with sex abuse by priests, at the Vatican, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool) - The Associated Press


Pope Francis prays at the beginning of the third day of a Vatican's conference on dealing with sex abuse by priests, at the Vatican, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool) - The Associated Press


Sex abuse survivor Alessandro Battaglia is hugged by survivor and founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), Denise Buchanan, right, during a march in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) - The Associated Press


Sex abuse survivors and members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), march in downtown Rome, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) - The Associated Press


Sex abuse survivor Alessandro Battaglia, left, is hugged by survivor and founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), Denise Buchanan, during a march in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) - The Associated Press