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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More