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Pope Francis: Predator Priests Become 'Tool of Satan'

Francis closes out summit on sexual abuse with harsh words, but leaves survivors disappointed
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2019 11:05 AM CST
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. Pope Francis celebrated a final Mass to conclude his summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy...   (Giuseppe Lami/Pool Photo via AP)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis closed out a four-day summit meant to tackle the sexual abuse scandal that has roiled the Catholic Church for decades, reports the AP, promising that abusive priests will face "the wrath of God." The pontiff compared sexual abuse to "the cruel religious practice ... of sacrificing human beings—frequently children—in pagan rites." "The consecrated person, chosen by God to guide souls to salvation, lets himself be subjugated by his own human frailty, or by his own illness, thus becoming a tool of Satan," he said in closing out the first-of-its-kind summit, per the BBC. "In the abuses, we see the hand of evil that does not spare even the innocence of children."

But though Francis' words were strong, survivors who attended the summit were disappointed when the Vatican failed to roll out a plan to hold bishops' feet to the fire when they fail to protect their parishioners. "I have been waiting for seven years for all of this to change," one Italian survivor tells the AP. "There are people who have been waiting for 30 years that all this will change. Why don't they start with something concrete like removing the bishops who cover up?" (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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