Opinion

Catholic Church sexual abuse is embarrassing.

By Opio Jackson (Ex-seminarian)

In an unprecedented move, all of Chile’s bishops offered to resign last Friday after attending a crisis meeting with Pope Francis about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the South American nation.

Pope Francis received the resignation letter from each one of them but said it was their “grave negligence” in investigating abuse and protecting children.

The sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is disturbing and embarrassing to all those who believe in the Catholic doctrines whether you are in Europe, South America, Australia or Africa and South Sudan in particular.

Most of our priests don’t keep the vow of Chaste they pronounced during their ordination and that is why today the faithful are complaining of widespread sexual abuse in the Universal Church by those they call the spiritual fathers.

This situation in Chile and other parts of the world has reminded me of my old days at the Apostles of Jesus Mother House seminary Moroto Uganda. The Vice Rector at Mother-House seminary used the tuition fees that were paid by the seminarians to carry out an abortion on a young girl who he allegedly impregnated. He also used the balance of the money to bribe the parents of the poor girl not to report the case to the police authority.

The seminarians decided to strike for seven days to protest against the act of immorality as well as lack of proper services for the students because the seminary had run bankrupt.

However, the Regional Superior of the congregation of the Apostles of Jesus who is now the Archbishop for Tororo, His Grace Emmanuel Obbo A.J made unexpected judge by dismissing half of the seminarians simply because they had protested against sexual abuse in the Church.

He was supposed to suspend the Vice Rector to give ways for the investigation instead of sending out young future priests who were ready to fight against sex abuse in the church as they were still young.

He said violence was never tolerated in seminary and I don’t know if sexual abuse was to be given favour.

This short story clearly demonstrates the grave negligence by the senior priests and the bishops to deal with sexual abuses in the Catholic Church. The tendency to cover-up the issue shall never end the saga instead it will continue to spread more and more.

For instance, the sex scandal that has swirled around the Chilean church for more than 20 years erupted four months ago when the pope visited Chile. These 34 bishops did a wrong thing to submit their resignation to Pope Francis. This is nothing to do with protecting their reputation but they simply want to escape from their responsibility as well as to destroy the evidence of sex crime and documents.

The Vatican should not accept their resignation until justice is delivered to the victims by taking further punitive measure against the bishops and those complicated in the scandal.

Much as the sex abuse in the Church has never been reported by the media in South Sudan, it does not mean the vice is exceptional in the country. There are individual priests who have lost respect from the congregation because they consider them unworthy to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians has warned us of immortality in the church saying if we cannot restrain our desire, we should go ahead and marry than to burn with passion. However, he also advised us to remain as we are when we accepted God’s call.

There are those called to unmarried life, others to married life but we should all live according to the requirements of our calls.

The Vatican should come up with Laws regarding the religious life whether priests are supposed to marry or not in order to stop sex scandal in the church. For many times we have pretended before God and stood on the Holy alter to celebrate the Mass although we know we are not living the life when we were called by God.

 

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