Pope Francis 'dreams' of scandal-free Church
Pope Francis has urged Catholic bishops to dream of a future free of the mistakes and sins of the past, as he opened a global gathering of the Church leadership amid renewed outrage over the priestly sex abuse and cover-up scandal.
Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter's Square with some of the more than 200 priests, bishops and cardinals summoned to Rome for a month-long meeting on proposing new ways to minister to today's young Catholics.
Francis prayed for the bishops to guide the young with experience, but also to rekindle in themselves the gift of "dreaming and hoping" that young people have.
He prayed for God's help to ensure the Church "does not allow itself from one generation to the next to be extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins".
A survey by the Pew Research Centre released yesterday found just 31pc of US Catholics felt the Pope was doing an excellent or good job in addressing the abuse issue, down from 45pc in January and 55pc in 2015.
A group of abuse survivors planned a sit-in near the Vatican to draw attention to their plight and compel delegates to prioritise the issue. "We think young people should question the way the Church has dealt with this in the past," said Matthias Katsch, a German member of the Ending Clergy Abuse global advocacy group.
Among those participating in the protest are hearing- impaired victims of the notorious Antonio Provolo Institute in Verona, Italy, where deaf children were sodomised for years by Catholic priests and brothers.