Pope asks for forgiveness after uproar over Church child sex abuse scandal
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades."
The Catholic Church has been left shaken. A two-year investigation has revealed that more than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 priests in the US state of Pennsylvania alone, over a period of decades. Worse still, senior church officials had taken steps to cover it up.
The grand jury believes that the real number of victims may be a lot more, since many records were lost and many victims were afraid to come forward.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades," wrote the grand jury.
Sadly, this isn't the first time the Church has found itself in the news for the wrong reasons.
In June 2018, a former Vatican diplomat was sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography offences.
Also, a five-year inquiry in 2017 found that "tens of thousands of children" were sexually abused in Australian institutions over decades, including churches, schools and sports clubs.
Details of this kind of abuse are horrific and shocking to say the least. And now, in a letter addressed to the entire Catholic population, the Pope asks for forgiveness.
Pope Asks for Forgiveness...
Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness on behalf of all the priests who misused their position of authority and power, to cover up Church abuse.
He said, "We ask forgiveness for the times that we did not show survivors compassion or the justice they deserve in the search for the truth.
"We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.
He apologised, saying, "We ask forgiveness for members of the Church hierarchy who did not take care of these situations and kept quiet.
"I beg the Lord's forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God's family."
The abuse stories that have finally seen the light of day are scary. A young girl was raped by a priest in hospital after she had her tonsils out. In another case, a group of four priests groomed and violently sexually assaulted young boys. These are just two cases out of thousands...
We hope these perpetrators get the punishment they deserve. Children go to holy institutions to feel the presence of God. It is indeed depressing that these very men of God robbed them of their innocence and purity.
May justice triumph.
Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse
Every parent must take steps to educate and protect their child from sex abuse. In many cases, abusers are often people trusted by the child. Here are some pointers:
Know your child
Show interest in her day-to-day lives. Ask her what she did during the day and what games she played after school. Know who your child is spending time with, including other children and adults.
Talk about body parts
Teach your children about private parts from a young age. Use proper names for each body part. It eliminates a lot of confusion. Feeling comfortable using these words and knowing what they mean can help a child talk clearly if something bad has happened.
Explain the meaning of private parts
Tell your child why only some parts are called "private". It is because they are not for everyone to see. Only mummy and daddy, and maybe a doctor in the presence of a parent is allowed to look at them. Not even friends or relatives they know well.
Explain "good touch" and "bad touch"
Be clear. Explain that no one should touch their private parts and that they should not touch any one’s private parts as well. Also, no one should be allowed to take pictures of private parts.
Never force your child to gives hugs and kisses to relatives, friends or other acquaintances.
No "private" secrets
Most paedophiles will tell the child to keep the abuse a secret – either lovingly or using a threatening tone. Explain to your child that no matter what happens, she should confide in you. That she will never get in trouble for telling you the truth, even if it was about her parent.
Teach her to say "No"
If she feels something "bad" happening, she must learn to say "No!" and try to leave the area immediately.
Tell your child that if an adult — including family members — asks her to do something that makes her uncomfortable, it’s okay to not obey that adult. Even if it's someone she knows very well.
Choose caregivers carefully
Whether it’s a babysitter or a maid, be diligent about screening caregivers for your child.
Discuss the news
Incidents of sexual violence are frequently covered by the news and portrayed in television shows. Discuss them proactively with your child, ask questions like, “What would you do?"
Know the warning signs
More than the physical symptoms, emotional or behavioural signs are more common. Watch out for:
- Changes in behaviour, such as an increase in angry outbursts, withdrawal, etc
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Sleeping issues such as nightmares
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, welts or marks on the bodies
- Showing anxiety about being alone with a particular person
- Displaying age-inappropriate behaviour, or sexual knowledge/language