VATICAN CITY – Catholic religious orders from around the world are apologizing for having failed to respond when their priests raped children, acknowledging that their family-like communities blinded them to sexual abuse and led to misplaced loyalties, denial and cover-up.
The two umbrella organizations representing the world's male and female religious orders issued a joint statement Tuesday on the eve of Pope Francis' sex abuse prevention summit. They vowed to implement accountability measures to ensure cover-up by superiors ends and that children are safe.
With a few exceptions, religious orders have largely flown under the radar in the decades-long abuse scandal, since the focus has been on how diocesan bishops protected their priests. Yet congregations such as the Jesuits, Salesians and Christian Brothers have some of the worst records.