AUSTIN (KXAN) — Catholic leaders and survivors are gathered for a historic sex abuse prevention summit. Early Thursday morning, Pope Francis opened the summit by warning bishops there needs to be more than condemnation and concrete action needs to be taken.
Carol Midboe, a Lutheran with the Austin chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is one of many survivors and advocates in attendance. While a Lutheran priest is accused of abusing her, she is standing up for all accusers, regardless of denomination.
Midboe said the group is there to demand action. They’ve set out five demands which including the dismissal of clergy involved, the creation of a “zero-tolerance policy,” report abuse directly to law enforcement, release all files, and stop all “lobbying efforts against legislative reform that would benefit survivors.”
On Tuesday, Carol said the group tried to deliver a letter directly to the Pope but were not allowed to.
“They walked up to the Vatican and tried to hand it over to officials and they asked them to place it on the ground and so survivors felt that that was representative of how survivors have been treated overall,” she said, though she understood that when the group wasn’t allowed to, it could have been a matter of security.
If she’d hand opportunity to meet with the Pope, Midboe said she would tell him to “fire every bishop and clergy person who has covered child sexual abuse.”
Midboe says her goal is to remind other survivors who may not come forward yet that they are not alone.
“Just having that outreach to survivors is worth this trip.”
On Thursday, SNAP leaders will attempt to deliver a letter to nuns focused on nun sexual abuse throughout the years.
The summit will last through the weekend.