Canadian abuse survivor skeptical of Vatican summit on sex abuse
Published Sunday, March 3, 2019 5:38PM PST
A Coquitlam woman has returned home from a trip to Vatican City, calling it intensely emotional.
Leona Huggins was there last month to meet fellow survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.
“It's always empowering when we share our stories together and recognize that we are not alone," Huggins said.
At the same time, bishops from around the world were called in by Pope Francis for a landmark summit on sexual abuse.
"The power of an organization versus the vulnerability of a little child; I’m here for the little children," Huggins told CTV News while she was marching through the streets of Rome.
She and fellow advocates demanded a zero tolerance approach towards priests abusing children and church officials covering it up.
Huggins said she was abused in 1973 by a Catholic priest in New Westminster who was convicted decades later.
“He was a predator looking for prey and I fit the definition of prey,” she said. “I was 13 when he began."
That priest served a jail term but continued working as a priest in Alberta and Ontario before his death last year.
Pope Francis ended the summit vowing to confront the problem head on – promising to change the culture within the Catholic Church.
With no concrete action plan, Huggins called the entire summit a public relations stunt.
“What we came back with were microscopes towards solving this crisis,” she said.