Editorial: Ending impunity for child abuse

Sun Star

April 21, 2019

HELP a child being abused and report the crime to civil authorities.

In an article published in the January 2019 issue of the “World Mission” magazine, Fr. Shay Cullen of the Preda Foundation wrote that, “Every one of us has a solemn duty and responsibility to stop (child abuse).”

Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban co-founded the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (Preda) Foundation, an Olongapo City organization promoting and protecting the rights of women and children.

Cullen singled out what should be the priorities in child advocacy: first, to rescue and provide “protection, care therapy, and support” to “child victims hurt, damaged, and traumatized” by the abusers living “in their own home, in the community and on the internet;” and second, to “(give) justice to the victims, (which) prevents the perpetrators from abusing more children.”

Threatening children are predators in all guises: “The biological fathers, live-in partners and community pedophiles are most frequent offenders but there are clergy too,” wrote Cullen.

Last February 2019, Pope Francis convened the three-day Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church. It was widely anticipated as a “landmark Vatican summit” to get the bishops to take concrete action to address clerical sex abuse.

In his presentation during the Vatican summit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle admitted that the “lack of response of bishops to victims of clergy sexual abuse inflicts wounds on them,” reported “The Philippine Star” on Feb. 22. The priests abusing minors “inflicted wounds not only on the victims but also on their families, the clergy, the Church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the bishops,” the same report quoted Tagle as saying.

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