WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A historic summit at the Vatican is addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church.
Pope Francis opened the summit Thursday by warning 200 Catholic leaders from around the world that the faithful want concrete action in response to the sex abuse scandal and not just condemnation.
Meanwhile, abuse survivors in the Washington, D.C. area are watching the summit closely.
FOX 5's Bob Barnard spoke with Becky Ianni, a woman who says she was sexually abused by her parish priest, Father William Reinecke, when she was an 8-year-old girl living in Alexandria, Virginia back in the 1960's.
Now a grandmother, Ianni said when she went to her church seeking solace and an apology she didn't get either. "Up until then I was Catholic. So my abuse did not take the church away from me," Ianni said. "How the church handled my abuse is what destroyed my faith in the church."
Now a leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Ianni is keeping a close eye on this week's meetings at the Vatican. "I don't think they understand or I don't think they want to understand. They're still in the mode of we're going to protect the church. The church comes first," she said.
Father Tom Reese, senior analyst at Religion News Service based in Washington is a Jesuit priest of the same order as Pope Francis. He said the sex abuse scandal is devastating on the church's ability to do anything positive. He said it is necessary during the summit to get all of the bishops around the world on board with dealing with the crisis.
There is also the issue of finding a new archbishop for Washington to replace Cardinal Donald Wuerl. he resigned last year after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury's report showed Wuerl failed to protect children or properly punish abusive priests when he was a bishop in Pittsburgh years ago.
"Any priest involved in abuse -- he's out, Reese said. "Period. No questions. He can never again act as a priest. And that's the policy in the church. The problem is getting all of dioceses in the United States and the bishops to implement the policy. "You know, I just don't trust them all," Reese said.
The priest who Ianni says abused her as a child committed suicide in 1992 after being confronted by a former altar boy. Father Reineke's name was just published by the archdiocese of Arlington on its list of credibly accused predator priests.
"When you think of a child being harmed, people say to me 'you should get over this. It was how many...40 years ago...50 years ago,' Ianni said. "It's a lifetime of pain and so when the church doesn't do something it means another child...their soul is going to be destroyed. And so it makes me really, really sad."