With Pope Francis, an Argentinean national, leading the historic moot in the Italian city of Rome to address the crisis under great pressure from the victims, group discussions among bishops are going on to devise a foolproof mechanism that could check the growing number of such incidents.
Pope Francis called for "decisive action" on the issue when he was elected in 2013, but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.
"I don't see how anyone can continue to bring their child to a church that will not promise their child's safety", she said.
Cupich laid out overarching principles, such as respecting victims, as well as budgetary details, such as creating a common fund to cover the costs of investigating bishops.
Most of the 21 points are already practiced in countries like the United States.
The cardinal points out that lay Catholics should help gather information in an investigation, but says the judgments on a bishop rest with the Holy See and the metropolitan.
Speaking on the eve of a conference he has convened to guide senior bishops on how to tackle widespread abuse that has decimated the Church's credibility, Frances said its mistakes should be corrected. As archbishop in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he played a decisive and divisive role in Argentina's most famous abuse case, commissioning a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.
Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez told the meeting that those most responsible for the crisis, "are among us". A survivor from Chile told the bishops and religious superiors they had inflicted even more pain on survivors by discrediting them and protecting priests who abused.
However, the question haunting the summit from the beginning has been how to get the bishops to take bold steps on a complicated problem when some, particularly many in the global south, reportedly aren't even sure it's their problem.
The people of God "should come to know us as friends of their safety and that of their children and youth", he said.
Catholic priests from across the world have been found guilty of sexually abusing both adults and children and the church is accused of trying to cover numerous crimes up.
A group of thousands of survivors, including Newfoundland's own Gemma Hickey, will be waiting outside the Vatican during the meeting.
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Still, he insisted there was a way forward. "There has to be a pathway for them to deal with problems in a very constructive way".
The press conference did not include any Asian or African bishops, who Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge said on Thursday initially expressed frustration with the conference's narrow focus on sexual abuse.
But the passion for change was offset by sober realizations that even for those who admit they have a problem, the issue is multifaceted, and proposed solutions present hard new issues.
"To make this link between homosexuality and pedophilia is absolutely immoral, it is unconscionable and has to stop", survivor Peter Isely told reporters on Wednesday.
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