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Tag Archive | "sexual abuse"

Cardinal Tagle, Sexual Abuse, and the Asian Way

With Ratzinger vacating the papal throne, much has been made of who will be the man (and of course it must be a man) to replace him. In the press conference the CBCP held to talk about how sad they are about Ratzinger resigning the papacy, Father Francis Lucas spoke up for all Filipinos saying that Filipinos would love for the Philippines’ own Cardinal Tagle to become the next Pope.

“We Filipinos would like a Filipino to be pope. Any country would be proud of that – that your own cardinal becomes pope,” said Lucas, head of the mass media commission of the country’s Roman Catholic bishops.

“The ordinary people, they would like Tagle to be pope because he is a Filipino.”

When asked about what qualities made Cardinal Tagle a good candidate for the papacy, Father Lucas said, “He is humble, he is meek, he is very bright, he is media-savvy, he is simple.”

Maybe Father Lucas should have also mentioned that Cardinal Tagle brings a uniquely Asian way of looking at the sexual abuse crimes that hang over the Catholic church. In a recent interview, Cardinal Tagle talked about how well received his presentation was on how the Catholic Church should handle sex abuses. This is how GMA news reported on this interview:

“You care. You care for the victims… You care also for the abuser who is definitely lost and you do not want the person to continue being lost… This is a very Asian approach. And it is that approach [that] leads to healing, but healing based on justice, based on truth,” he added.

Sounds good so far. Cardinal Tagle is talking about justice, which is always good, and healing, too. It’s commendable that Tagle speaks of healing not just of the victim but also the abuser. But judging by the track record of the Catholic Church in handling sexual abuses, what exactly does Cardinal Tagle mean?

Well, it turns out that if you watch the rest of the interview that wasn’t included in the report, Cardinal Tagle tells you exactly what he means:

“I think for us, legal action, exposing persons, both victims and abusers, to the public, either through media or legal action, that adds to the pain.”

So. You know. Justice and healing for Cardinal Tagle apparently means keeping legal action against the criminal sexual abuser out of the picture. Yep. Meet the possible new boss, who is apparently just the same as the old boss. Do you still think Filipinos would be proud of having Cardinal Tagle as a pope?

Posted in ReligionComments (35)

African Priests Rape Nuns to Avoid AIDS

As pro-choice and anti-choice advocates continue to debate the morality of contraceptives, some priests have discovered a way of avoiding HIV and AIDS — and it has nothing to do with condoms. Their solution? Raping nuns.

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries [Philippines included] have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.

Who says priests can’t practice safe sex?

In some African countries, nuns respect priests so absolutely that disobedience is not an option. They readily trade sex for favors such as providing accommodation or tuition, writing theological essays, and giving “certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation.” In other words, sex for education.

According to Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, the clerical sex abuse problem is partly due to the “conspiracy of silence.” Sisters felt that speaking about the issue was disloyal. And for those who did speak up, things didn’t end up well:

Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done” One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.

But there is a hint of hope hiding in all this hypocrisy. Aside from granting favors for sex, some priests would ask nuns to take birth control pills. Some priests would even encourage the nuns they impregnate to have abortions. They may have been hypocritical rapists, but at least they’re progressive.

As the Pope’s official spokesman has said, we should focus on the bright side:

The problem is known and involves a restricted geographical area. Certain negative situations must not overshadow the often heroic faith of the overwhelming majority of religious nuns and priests.

Too bad not a single nun was spared from sexual abuse by this “heroic faith.” Maybe it’s time to try heroic action instead. Until the “overwhelming majority” speak up against the evils of its own church and demand accountability, all they’ll get are more abuses, excuses, and apologies.


Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (18)