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Nigerian nun rebukes Catholic Church during Vatican sex abuse summit

Strong criticism and admissions of cover-ups marked the third day of the Vatican summit on sexual abuse. Prominent Nigerian nun Veronica Openibo said the Catholic Church has reached a “disgraceful and scandalous place” and a German Cardinal admitted some files on abusers were destroyed. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Christopher Livesay joins Hari Sreenivasan from Rome with reaction.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    The third day of the Vatican summit on sexual abuse brought strong condemnation of church leaders and charges of cover ups. A German cardinal admits his church files about abusers were destroyed or never created. And a prominent Nigerian nun had tough criticism.

  • Sister Veronica Openibo:

    Yes we proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behavior into society. He will present times. Yes. Which way did we keep silent for so long.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Tomorrow the final day of the four day conference. The pope is scheduled to speak. Joining us now from Rome via Skype is NewsHour Special Correspondent Chris Livesay. Chris, this has been going on for a couple of days now they were focusing on responsibility and accountability and transparency. What caught your ear today?

  • Christopher Livesay:

    Well a couple of things. I mean one of the most alarming events was when a German cardinal by the name of Marx admitted to the fact that a Catholic church has in fact destroyed evidence of sex abuse in the past. This is probably no huge shock to the thousands of victims who have come forward in the United States let alone in the world over the last several decades. But the fact that the church would actually admit to having participated in a cover up is as big I mean I think it's also a testament to the fact that Pope Francis has said that the church has to make concrete action and fessing up to the fact that its hands are dirty in the clerical sex abuse scandals as part of that process.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    There was also a nun that spoke today what did she have to say?

  • Christopher Livesay:

    Though a nun from Nigeria addressed the conference which in and of itself is pretty monumental. She made a point of saying that usually these are men speaking before you and she went on to tell everybody there, we're talking about roughly 200 church leaders from around the world, that this is an incredible problem and that that needs to come to an end.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    So Pope Francis is sitting there listening to all this he's expected to speak tomorrow. Are there any expectations of what he could say or what kind of actions the church could take?

  • Christopher Livesay:

    There are incredibly high expectations for this summit. However the Pope and every leader of this event have gone out of their way to basically tamp down those expectations as well. I mean this is the Catholic Church at the end of the day it's been around for 2000 years. You cannot turn a battleship on a dime. This conference is not going to change things overnight. That's what they've been saying over and over and over again. One of the things that raised expectations coming into this conference was the fact that Pope Francis defrocked a cardinal the former archbishop of Washington D.C. for his past sexual misconduct that sent huge shock waves through the Catholic Church and also throughout the community of survivors and victims. But the big question on their mind has been what is this just a bone that the pope is throwing us the kind of you know keep us at bay for for first time or is this the beginning of something new. And if they if he was trying to kind of silence the masses of survivors that definitely hasn't worked in the short term Rome has been a wash with with hundreds of survivors from around the world who have been protesting outside St. Peter's Square demanding zero tolerance demanding immediate action not just defrocking of priests and other prelates. I mean the pope has admitted that the bishops have have been predators I mean look at look at the Archbishop of the former archbishop of Washington D.C. So these are these are crimes that go all the way to the top. Victims are not willing to just you know see them kicked upstairs which has been the habit of the past. In other words just passing accuse priests and other prelates to other parishes and sometimes even promoting them know they want to see concrete action. People handed over to authorities civil authorities who can prosecute rather than the church doing it's old. You know traditional way of handling things which is internally and then victims very rarely seeing any kind of punishment or serious consequences come out of that.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Alright, Christopher Livesay joining us via Skype from Rome tonight. Thanks so much.

  • Christopher Livesay:

    Thank you, Hari.

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