News / Asia

Asia Next for Catholic Sex-Abuse Disclosures?

Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle, right, at Vatican-backed symposium on clerical sex abuse, Rome, Feb. 9, 2012.
Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle, right, at Vatican-backed symposium on clerical sex abuse, Rome, Feb. 9, 2012.

Roman Catholic leaders meeting at the Vatican are being advised to expect further disclosure of incidents of child abuse by priests in Asia.

The archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, is one of many senior Catholic clerics from around the world attending a meeting this week on the child-abuse issue. Their discussions centered on how the church should move forward from the many embarrassing revelations of clerical abuse of children that have become known in recent years. Tagle spoke at the final session of the symposium, called "Toward Healing and Renewal."

The Philippine archbishop told fellow prelates that a growing number of victims of such abuse have come forward in recent years in his country, and he predicted there are likely many more cases that have not yet been disclosed.

Tagle said many Asians are reluctant to report such incidents, fearing that by making details public they and their families will be shamed.

The archbishop's comments follow a similar warning issued in November by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, which called for "drastic and immediate measures" to contain the problem of abuse of minors and other vulnerable people. Pope Benedict has expressed shame and sorrow over the allegations that have rocked the church during the past decade, and he has directed bishops to agree on guidelines to prevent pedophilia by May of this year.

The Vatican's top official for dealing with sexual abuse of minors spoke frankly Wednesday to those attending the symposium -- about 200 people including bishops, leaders of priestly orders, victims of abuse and psychologists.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna denounced "a deadly culture of silence, or 'omerta,'" that has shrouded in secrecy many previous church investigations of abuse by clergy. He said the church's effort to prevent child abuse must have "commitment and accountability" from the entire Catholic hierarchy, and he warned bishops they can and should be removed from office if they fail to follow church guidelines on reporting abuse allegations.

Veteran observers of Vatican policy say rarely, if ever, has a senior cleric in Rome used the word "omerta" - a serious accusation in Italian, referring to the unbreakable code of silence observed by Mafia criminal gangs -- to describe some church officials' reluctance to admit full details of abuse scandals.

Scicluna, a priest from Malta assigned to the Vatican department that upholds and enforces church doctrine, has been dubbed a "sex-abuse prosecutor" in some media accounts from Rome this week. His formal title is "justice promoter" in the Vatican's doctrinal department, and he is known as the principal official responsible for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

Many victims' groups have long been critical of the Catholic Church and its bishops for shielding priests accused of sexually abusing children, often by moving pedophile priests from parish to parish instead of turning them over to civil authorities. Those same groups have also been critical of the symposium, dismissing it as a public relations maneuver.

During the four-day symposium at Rome's Gregorian University this week, church authorities disclosed they have been notified of more than 4,000 child sex abuse cases involving clergy over the past decade.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday because of its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid