Since the beginning of the abuse crisis, bishops and other Church officials seeking to turn things around have often touted their listening sessions with victims, and even popes, beginning with Benedict XVI during his 2008 trip to the United States, have gotten into the act. Critics have charged that those victims were often selected precisely because they were tame, unlikely to push back or do much publicly other than expressing gratitude.
On Wednesday, however, a dozen of the world’s most outspoken survivors of clerical abuse and advocates sat down with the summit organizers. Typically, they didn’t all come out saying the same thing … which, in a way, was probably the point.
Some of those survivors came away ticked off that Francis himself didn’t show up, even though his presence was never part of the plan.