"We bow our heads in shame": Catholic leaders admit errors in abuse cases

Statement from the leaders of Major Superiors of Religious Order and Congregations
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An organization representing hundreds of thousands of Catholic nuns and priests worldwide said Tuesday they made "errors in judgment" in their handling of child sexual abuse cases, Catholic newspaper Crux reports.

“We bow our heads in shame at the realization that such abuse has taken place in our congregations and orders, and in our Church. ... Our shame is increased by our own lack of realization of what has been happening.”

Why it matters: The rare statement from the leaders of Major Superiors of Religious Orders and Congregations comes ahead of a Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse that begins Thursday. The group said the "strong sense of family" within congregations often resulted in "misplaced loyalty," and that stronger, faster and more effective action would have been taken if more women were involved in processing cases.

Vatican has secret rules for priests who father children

The Vatican
The Vatican. Gety Images

The Vatican confirmed, for the first time, to the New York Times that it has internal guidelines on how to deal with priests who violate the longstanding celibacy tradition and become fathers to children.

Why it matters: The Times reports that many priests with children have long been "suffering from the internalized shame that comes with being born from church scandal. ... The children are sometimes the result of affairs involving priests and laywomen or nuns — others of abuse or rape. There are some, exceedingly rare, high-profile cases, but the overwhelming majority remain out of the public eye."

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