FOR more than 30 years, the Catholic Church has been jolted by sex controversies overseas. And for decades, this largest Christian denomination has been incriminated of protecting itself instead of its victims of sexual abuse. A foreign organization dedicated to consolidating and preserving records through website that provides updates on bishop accountability made a special study regarding sexual misconduct among priests in the Philippines and the report shockingly tagged a dozen cases of priests in this country accused of child sexual abuse.
After another sex scandal that hit the Church recently involving a priest and a minor, its diocese has called on the public to refrain from issuing comments that might worsen the situation and instead appeal [to the public] for all the faithful to pray that the truth may come out. And then, silence.
The priest in question has been released after posting bail of around P120,000. Reports say the Church did not donate a single centavo on his bail, and that other reports cited the priest comes from a well-off family who could afford to purchase more than 2 vehicles. He is now facing charges of qualified trafficking in persons. In all fairness with the Catholic Church, the bailed priest has been stripped off from his duties as parish priest even as his guilt remains to be proved. He’s also not allowed to talk to minors. Fairly enough, the institution did not try to justify the suspicious actions of the priest like conducting a Bible study inside the motel.
But supporters of the present administration’s war against illegal drugs were brisk in criticizing the issue. Some pro-government abettors ask the CBCP on why it urges the people to keep mum on this issue while they ask the faithful to cry foul against the government’s efforts to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs. Believers of the president’s strategy against prohibited drugs lambasted the officials in cassock for always minding the government overlooking their own decades-old predicament.
An Italian newspaper has reported that Pope Francis admits there is paedophilia problem about a small percentage among the Catholic clerics and that the Pontiff compared this paedophilia inside the church to leprosy. In the past, some offending priests were simply transferred to another diocese, quite an irony, similar to a practiced punishment of offending men in uniform from the PNP.
But no matter what the race of these sex offenders, they tend to similarly prey on the minors instead of those of legal age. This sparks a debate on whether there is something flawed or lacking along the course of schooling of the would-be priests.
Fortunately, with Pope Francis’ leadership, the Vatican’s recent moves are seemed to be going in the right direction. In his early days in 2013, he expressed his desire to apply zero tolerance approach to abuse cases involving the clergy.
Even Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz during his interview with Al Jazeera, said that “gone are the days when you just close your eyes and plug your ears, as if nothing is happening.”
This particular case of the priest with a minor in a motel will be a test to the Catholic Church’s commitment to cracking down sexual abuses and other violations within the institution. Together, let’s pray for justice for all the victims of child sexual abuse.