South Africa Bishop Says Abusers Should Not Be in the Priesthood

August 31, 2019

Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha, South Africa, second vice president of SECAM, and Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Mouila, Gabon, first vice president, process into St. Mary's Cathedral in Kampala, Uganda, July 21, 2019, for the opening Mass of the weeklong meeting of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). (Credit: NS photo/courtesy SECAM.)

YAOUNDE, Cameroon - A leading bishop in South Africa said clerical sexual abuse is a problem the Church is trying to confront in the country.

Mthatha Bishop Sithembile Sipuka, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told Crux that “between 2000 and 2016, 44 cases have been reported and investigated. Other cases are still being processed.”

He said the Church must do more to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood.

“The vexing question should really be, how can a priest stain the soul of a young person by sexually abusing him or her? And there is really no answer to that question, except to say that he is sick and abusive of power and should not be in priesthood,” the bishop said.

Sipuka noted the fact that in years past, bishops across the globe have come under severe criticism for engaging in a code of silence when it comes to the clerical abuse of minors. The bishop said it was a grave injustice to the victims when accused priests were transferred to another parish to keep the allegations secret.








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