I LOVE Pope Francis. He is firm in his stand not to tolerate clergy sex abuse. His words were crisp when he said that this is “the shame of the Church” (the church founded by Jesus Christ).
We should be aware that the Vatican has made a compromise on two international agreements prohibiting sexual abuse of children. These two treaties are “The Convention on the Rights of the Child” (ratified by the Vatican in September 1980) and the “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography” (OP-CRS, ratified on October 2001).
Based on these, we can view the stand of the Church on pedophiles and on the victims (thousands of them) of sexual abuse. Was there concealment on the part of Vatican? Did Vatican acknowledge, rectify, or make amends on what happened? Was there a confirmation that there were children who were victims of Vatican’s agents and priests?
Why is Pope Francis seeking forgiveness? My idol Pope is asking forgiveness because Church leaders did not respond adequately to their reports. We do not generalize Church leaders. We have good cardinals, bishops and priests. Many of them are our personal friends and we salute them. They are the best breed of leaders in our Church. They are exempted in this storytelling.
We have to be frontal about this in the name of truth. The lurid details of cases of rape of children, child pornography, cover ups, and the indescribable evil child sex rings have been in the front page of our national newspapers. This concern is not just the concern in our country. This is global in scope.
Pope Francis is just frank enough. The crime of sexual child abuses has involved priests, ministries and pastors of all religious groups. This is doubly shocking because clergymen should be trusted on the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of the flock of Christ.
Parents (like me) have allowed our children to accompany the priests or ministers on excursions, educational trips, an even overnight stay in rectories, dormitories, retreat houses, and chapels. How many of our children have been attacked and manipulated by the pedophilia and homosexual leaders of our churches?
Adult males and females have been victims also. They confided their personal problems to the “men of the church” and end up having sweaty affairs with them. Lives have been broken and few ended their guilt by committing suicide. Pope Francis is pounding and punching on this. (Just to whom it may concern only.)
Truth is stranger than fiction. When the top church leaders hear complains, the next move is to simply transfer the clergy to another assignment. The subject of the complaint is not barred from contact with children or reported to the police. Pope Francis wants priests, bishops, or cardinals (if proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt) to be expelled from the ministry. The band of wolves should be separated from the flock of sheep.
In our country, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued an unprecedented statement on July 8, 2002, apologizing for the “grave sins committed by some leaders on members of the flock.” That statement should stand as it is. We do not want to elaborate on that.
If you are a priest and you want “to go and multiply,” leave the ministry with honor. Raise your family like St. Joseph with dignity. If you stay in the ministry, keep cool and stay good. Pope Francis reminds you, “Hell is never full. There is always room for one more!”
If things go wrong, don’t go with them. If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning!