- Video report by ITV News Europe Editor James Mates
Pope Francis has opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit by warning senior Catholic figures that the faithful are demanding concrete action against predator priests and not just words of condemnation.
Victims then told the bishops of the searing emotional pain of their abuse.
The pope opened the four-day summit by telling the Catholic hierarchy that their own responsibility to deal effectively with priests who rape and molest children weighed on the proceedings.
"Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice", and seize the opportunity to "transform this evil into a chance for understanding and purification", Francis told the 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.
"The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established."
More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia and 20 years after it hit the US, bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or downplay the problem.
Francis, the first Latin American pope, called the summit after he himself botched a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year.
Realising he had erred, he has vowed to chart a new course and is bringing the rest of the church leadership along with him.
The summit is meant as a tutorial for church leaders to learn the importance of preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims and investigating the crimes when they occur.
The Vatican’s senior sex crimes investigator delivered a step-by-step lesson on investigating abuse cases, citing the example of Pope Benedict XVI, who turned the Vatican around on the issue two decades ago.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna told bishops they should co-operate with civil law enforcement investigations and announce decisions about predators to their communities once cases have been decided.
He said victims had the right to damages from the church and that bishops should consider using lay experts to help guide them during the sex abuse investigations.
Abuse survivors have turned out in droves in Rome to demand accountability and transparency from church leaders and assert that the time of sex abuse cover-ups is over.