Pope Francis must acknowledge the crimes, coverups, and the need for compensation, Chilean sexual abuse victims demanded in a statement to the emergency Vatican summit on Wednesday.
In a letter to the Pope, at least six assault victims demanded that the Holy See leave behind the prayers and penance, delivering serious justice to perpetrators for the years of suffering brought on by cover-ups and incredulity.
“We insist on the need for the Vatican to modify its discourse and- in addition to speaking about pain, forgiveness and sins- it is imperative that they recognize crimes, wrongs, and reparations and trust all the information it has to the hands of federal justice," the delegation said, some of whom identified themselves as victims of the Marist Brothers religious order.
The Holy See began a three-day, closed-door meeting Tuesday with 34 Chilean bishops who have been summoned to the Vatican over their possible involvement in a sexual abuse cover-up that dates to the 1970s.
The main agenda revolves around a 2,300-page April report with the pope kicking off the meeting by handing each cleric a list of themes he told them to meditate and pray.
However, since then little else has been accomplished.
During his daily mass Wednesday morning, Pope Francis told the bishops they should all consider their situation and recognize when it’s time to “leave and resign.” The actual meeting, however, drew considerable attention after it was adjourned within just 45 minutes.
While Santiago’s Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez said that resignations of at least 10 Chilean bishops are pending, the Chilean diocese has continued to deny any departures of its religious leaders.
"The actions decided by Pope Francis will be the only measure to consider in order to know if the time of cover-ups has ended within said institution," the victims wrote. "We are concerned that requests for forgiveness are not translated into concrete and exemplary actions."
According to U.S.-based NGO Bishop Accountability, almost 80 clergymen have been accused of sexually abusing children since 2000. Many have criticised the pope for limiting the emergency session to Chile considering the rate of crimes being reported worldwide.