While the world is rising to the fight on sexual abuse, the church is yet to take a strong position and a Nigerian, Rome-based woman, Sister Veronica Openibo is upset about it.
In a conference with the Pope and other catholic leaders, Sister Veronica,SHCJ, Superior General of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, said that some bishops are in denial about the sexual abuse that is happening in the world.
According to her, the church is downplaying the problem and keeping silent about abuse while parading themselves as custodians of moral standards and values and good behaviour.
Advocating for the end of the church’s system of silence, she urged that commissions be set up in dioceses across the developing world to draft anti-abuse procedures.
Probably like many of you, I have heard some Africans and Asians say, that ‘this is not our issue in countries in Africa and Asia, it is the problem in Europe, the Americas, Canada and Australia’
However, I worked throughout Nigeria in the area of sexuality education for nine years and heard the stories and counselled many people. I realised how serious the issues were and still are.
In some parts of the world, including countries in Africa and Asia, not saying anything is a terrible mistake as we have seen in many countries.
The fact that there are huge issues of poverty, illness, war, and violence in some countries in the global south does not mean that the area of sexual abuse should be downplayed or ignored. The Church has to be pro-active in facing it.
They need to work out how best to face the serious issues of sexual abuse already exploding in some Asian and African countries in the same way that it has elsewhere.
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