Top Catholic Church official says files on paedophile priests were destroyed

Pope surrounded by sycophants and Church run according to Jesuit order's rules says Müller

Cardinal Gerhard Muller is seen at the Vatican in this 2016 file

"Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice", Francis said yesterday, noting that the church was beyond the phase of "predictable condemnations".

On Saturday, Cardinal Marx called for transparency in order for the church to win back "trust", saying that secrecy provoked "conspiracy theories". The group also accused the Pope of allowing cardinals and bishops "who have had an active role in covering up" sex abuse to attend the summit, saying it showed they were "able to openly flout the very policies created to hold them accountable". "We have to recognise that the enemy is within".

The pope called the four-day summit, which began Thursday to address the snowballing clergy abuse scandal, which has its roots in Louisiana. In a room that looked like a college auditorium, rows of bishops listened to speeches and took notes.

Archbishop Scicluna was invited to speak on the Witness programme, which is produced by the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, hosted by the Foundation's CEO, Fr Thomas Rosica.

He made the remarks during a mass in the Vatican City to conclude his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse.

Among those ideas, the Pope raised the possibility of establishing rules that incorporate lay experts into abuse investigations.

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Establishing protocols for handling accusations against bishops.

Outlining steps the Catholic Church can take to move toward true transparency and healing, she suggested beginning with the admission of wrongdoing and publishing "what has been done since the time of Pope John Paul II".

The Church "in developing her legislation" will focus he said on eight aspects: "the protection of children", "impeccable seriousness", "genuine purification", "formation", "strengthening and reviewing guidelines by Episcopal Conferences" and "accompaniment of those who have been abused". "Are they going to make that law, so it's crystal clear to every one of them?"

Francis has told his bishops he wants "concrete measures" drawn up against child sex abuse.

Gathered outside the Vatican, a group of abuse survivors said they were disappointed that the pontiff had declined their invitation to meet them. That question was answered with a demand to be respectful, she said, eroding hope that this week's summit meant to tackle sexual abuse in clerical ranks would result in true change.

"The study indicates some documents were manipulated or did not contain what they should have specific responsibilities", Marx told NBC News Saturday.

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Pope Francis, ending a landmark Vatican conference on clergy sexual abuse, called on Sunday for an "all-out battle" against a crime he called abominable and compared to human sacrifice. Scandals over the past year have engulfed the church in Chile, Australia, Latin America and the United States.

In Ireland, where the pope visited in August, the sexual abuse scandal shattered the power of the Church which four decades ago dominated society.

On Friday, two USA cardinals confirmed that the Vatican was working on the "clarification" of a 2016 law that reportedly left a loophole for bishops who cover up sexual abuse. On the summit's opening day, for example, the keynote speaker was Filipino Cardinal Luis Tagle. Marx said that "victims were regulated and silence imposed on them", while the perpetrators were not sufficiently punished.

How much pressure is the Pope under?

In the latest case, a group supporting victims of paedophile priests in Poland on Thursday released a report documenting almost 400 cases of sex abuse by clerics in the staunchly Catholic country.

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