Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Last February 12, a select number of Verbum Dei members from Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon attended an in-depth talk entitled “TRANSMISSION ON PREVENTION AND PROTOCOL OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND AUTHORITY ABUSE” by Father Renato "Atong" Dela Cruz of the archdiocese of Ilagan, Isabela. He is a license counsellor and therapist of the ongoing renewal program of clergy, religious sisters, and the lay faithful. He was quite candid and elaborate in sharing some abusive practices that occur in the church in the Philippines.
He opened our eyes to the horrible facts of church abuse, which is predominantly perpetrated by those we referred to as shepherds, or vanguards of our faith - abuse that we typically ignore due to reverence for the religious.
“In 2019, Francis summoned presidents of all the world's bishops conferences - the leaderships of the national Churches - to Rome for a summit on sexual abuse. By the end of that year he enacted two major pieces of legislation.
The first instituted new reporting procedures and made bishops more accountable. It also broadened the definition of sexual crimes to include vulnerable adults and abuse of office in sexual molestation of seminarians and women religious.
The second was the removal of pontifical secrecy around abuse cases.
"We have to fight against every single case," he said. "As a priest, I have to help people grow and save them. If I abuse, I kill them. This is terrible. Zero tolerance," he said. (July 8, 2022, Reuters.com)
The Verbum Dei Handbook for the prevention of abuse in our community and apostolates was thoroughly discussed in the afternoon by our very own Sr. Cecilia Teo, a missionary from Singapore who is currently finishing her Masters degree in Counseling here in the Philippines.
The day's activities could be summed up in two words: accountability and responsibility. Children of God, members of the body of Christ, are accountable to one another and should care for one another. We are reminded that we are our brothers’ keepers.
Contributor: Rey Bagares
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