Roman Catholic Priest, Fr. Brancker John, is condemning the abuse of minors by priests and clerics of the church.
He said the church has a zero tolerance policy with regards to the abuse of children and referred to this quote from an address by Pope John Paul the second to Cardinals of the United States in 2002.
“I have been deeply grieved by the fact that Priests and religious who’s vocation it is to help people live holy lives in the sight of God, have themselves cause such suffering and scandal to the young, because of the great harm done by some Priests and religious the church itself is viewed with distrust and many are offended at the way in which the churches leaders are perceived to have acted in this matter.”
He further quotes Pope John Paul the II as saying, “The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society. It is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God. People need to know that there is no place in the Priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young.”
Fr. John said the Catholic church, locally and globally, has been affected by accusations and confessions of abuse of minors by clerics and still faces many challenges locally, in its efforts to address the issue of sexual abuse of minors.
He outlined three major challenges faced by the church in this regard.
Firstly, he noted that people still love and trust their priests.
“Therefore, those abused by clerics or those who are aware of abuse of minors by priests may be reluctant to come forward and report the matter,” he said. “The other side of that love and trust is the preparedness to send the child to meet with the priest alone, not knowing if that priest is suffering with paedophilia.” he pointed out.
Fr. John pointed to a lack of awareness of the effects of abuse of the victim as another challenge which the Church faces in addressing the issue.
“Some people still make comments to the effect that as long as there was no penetration of the female sexual organ, that it really is not a big deal,” he said.
The church also has to deal with the issue of the selection of men for holy orders, the Catholic priest stated.
“We really do not know whom we are getting as priests,” he said. “A man may seem well on the surface but underneath might be carrying quite a bit of baggage. That man may be abused as a minor himself or may have gone through some difficulties in his early life that have affected him psychologically…”
He further explained, “He will be ordained and sent to work with people including innocent children. This is a challenge for the church and the church depends on the honesty of the candidates for priesthood and she also depends on the knowledge of the general public to address this challenge.”
He urged the public that if they are aware of or know that someone has an issue and has presented himself for Holy Orders, “we should raise that issue with the relevant authorities.”