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And What About Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests in the Philippines?

s Christians around the world prepare for Lent, Catholics in the Philippines focus on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ. Benedict XVI recently issued a pastoral letter on the Irish paedophile clergy scandalBut largely left unspoken, or mentioned only in whispers is the shame and the suffering of children and adolescents who were abused by members of the Catholic clergy.

Stories for instance about Spanish friars who used their positions of power to abuse Filipina women go back hundreds of years. Our national hero Jose Rizal even writes about it in his book "Noli Me Tangere." What's sad is that even back then, Filipinos had to tolerate such degeneracy simply because it was a priest doing it.

First in the United States, then in Ireland, and now even in the Pope's former German diocese, the sad truth about the depravity of many of these "soldiers of Christ" and the subsequent cover-up by their superiors are finally surfacing. From the sixteenth century to today, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has been getting away with everything it can, with no one daring to even raise a concern about the shattered lives of those it has victimized. But now that Catholics around the world are speaking up and demanding full disclosure, it is time Filipinos finally shed their timidity and also rise to the task.

After all, Pope Benedict's Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics admonishes the abusers; "You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals."

As a nation it is high time for a public reckoning on just how much damage wayward priests (and probably a few nuns) have done to Filipinos as a people. This is now centuries overdue. Vote on our Poll

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