By Lillian Sopera Keneqa – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Pope Francis has closed a four-day summit on clerical sexual abuse, declaring an all-out war against abusers within the Church. Sharing his experience, the President of PNGSI Catholic Bishop Conference, who attended the Summit, said that is the Pope’s focus. Bishop Rochus Tatamai also said this is the dark side of the church, and it needs to be dealt with honestly and transparently to regain back the Church’s credibility.
Bishop Rochus Tatamai returned from Rome where he attended the 4 day summit that focused on abuse. The summit was held in response to growing concerns over various forms of abuse including child sex abuses within the Catholic Church.
In Rome, Pope Francis, closed the four-day summit declaring an ‘all-out war’ against abusers within the Church. The summit was attended by 190 bishops from all over the world. Survivors of abuse also shared their accounts.
The world is now watching the Catholic Church with scrutiny. This month, the church has been rocked by the guilty verdict handed down against Australian Cardinal, George Pell – the Vatican’s Treasurer. Pell has since been sentenced for sexually abusing two boys while he was archbishop.
The summit has been an eye-opener for many. Bishop Rochus said each country’s context and culture is distinct and unique but there is recognition that the abuse of children and the vulnerable members of the church is a global issue.
For PNG’s case, it is evident that this issue is happening however, the cases are not reported that often. Bishop Gilles Cote, who is the Bishop Deputy for the Right Relationship in Ministry told EMTV News that they have been dealing with cases of clerical sexual abuse.
The Church in PNG has a set procedure called ‘the Protocol’ to deal with such cases. Bishop Rochus emphasised the need for collaborative efforts through awareness so those who are affected within the church are more at ease to speak out. Bishop Gilles also made mention that 95% of the time, when a minor makes a complaint, they are right.