x

Society

Religious Orders Apologize for Sex Abuse Inaction, Cover-ups

February 19, 2019

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic religious orders from around the world apologized Tuesday for having failed to respond when their priests raped children, acknowledging that their family-like communities blinded them to sexual abuse and led to misplaced loyalties, denial and cover-ups.

The two umbrella organizations representing the world’s religious orders issued a joint statement ahead of Pope Francis’ sex abuse prevention summit, which opens Thursday. They vowed to implement accountability measures going forward to ensure that cover-ups by religious superiors end and that children are always safe in the presence of clergy.

With a few exceptions, religious orders have largely flown under the radar in the decades-long scandal, since the focus has been on how diocesan bishops protected their priests and moved them from parish to parish where they were free to abuse again.

Yet congregations such as the Jesuits, Salesians and Christian Brothers have some of the worst records, since they too moved abusers around and had easy access to young victims, since many orders specialize in running schools.

The Union of Superiors General represents the leadership of male religious orders, which count around 133,000 priests globally. The female branch, the International Union of Superiors General, represents some 500,000 religious sisters. They will each send around a dozen representatives to the Vatican sex abuse summit.

In the statement, the groups said they were ashamed at how they had failed the most vulnerable they were meant to serve and blamed “the strong sense of family” that their communities fostered for having blinded them to the warning signs.

“It resulted in a misplaced loyalty, errors in judgment, slowness to act, denial and at times, cover-up,” they said. “We still need conversion and we want to change. We want to act with humility. We want to see our blind spots. We want to name any abuse of power.”

To that end, the statement also condemned recent revelations of priests and bishops who sexually abused seminarians and nuns — an abuse of power that has largely gone unpunished since the victims are adults.

While noting the pope’s summit is focused on the protection of minors, the groups pledged to find a response.

“This is a matter of grave and shocking concern,” they said.


By NICOLE WINFIELD , Associated Press

RELATED

ATHENS - Anna Paga, a 60-year-old mother of three, may possibly be one of the first patients in Greece who will be able to purchase cannabis for medicinal use at a pharmacy, with a prescription from a doctor.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Zelenskyy Hosts Western Leaders in Kyiv as Ukraine Marks 2 Years since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

KYIV, Ukraine  — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Western leaders to Kyiv Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and weaponry and foreign aid hangs in the balance.

From shamrocks to leprechaun hats to green beer, it just wouldn't be St.

Olfa Hamrouni doesn’t know much about her granddaughter; not her favorite toy nor food — is it the pasta the child’s mother loves, or something else? The Tunisian grandmother doesn’t even let her mind go there.

LOS ANGELES  — LeBron James had 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame Victor Wembanyama's historic “5x5” statistical performance for their seventh victory in nine games, 123-118 over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

DOHA - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, on Saturday in Doha.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.