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Pope lowers goal of abuse summit to be mere catechism class

The Associated Press
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In this picture Taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, answers reporters’ questions aboard the plane after taking off from Panama City. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
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In this picture taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, answers reporters’ questions aboard the plane after taking off from Panama City. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
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In this picture taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, gestures to describe snobbish, hypocritical Catholics as he answers reporters’ questions aboard the plane after taking off from Panama City. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
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In this picture taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, answers reporters’ questions aboard the plane after taking off from Panama City. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
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In this picture taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, answers reporters’ questions aboard the plane after taking off from Panama City. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis is seeking to lower expectations from his big sex abuse prevention summit next month, saying he has only three main objectives.

Francis told reporters returning from Panama on Sunday that he wants the Feb. 21-24 meeting to essentially be a basic catechism class for bishops about sex abuse. He said he wanted to sensitize church leaders around the globe to the pain of victims, instruct them on how to investigate cases and develop general protocols for the entire hierarchy to use.

Francis’ lowering of expectations will likely not be received well in the United States, where rank-and-file Catholics are withholding donations and demanding accountability from their bishops after the hierarchy’s repeated failures to protect children were exposed again last year.