MORALS AND BIOETHICS
What does the Church say regarding sexual abuse by members of the clergy?
Why do they talk on radio against Catholic priests? They say that they sexually abuse women and possibly children.
The means of modern communication, television, cinema, radio, and the press, expose all the dramas of life: war, conjugal violence and immoral acts. Virtuous living, on the other hand, does not cause any sensation and is seldom publicized on the front page of newspapers.
This explains the fame of certain scandalous acts, especially if these acts were carried out by notorious people. So it is with scandals caused by some members of the clergy. The mass media also expose family incest and faults of our secular leaders in society.
In 1993, Pope John Paul II transmitted a message to the American bishops regarding pedophilia and other sexual abuses. To the Canadian bishops of the Maritimes, he stated: "I have personally shared the stress with you and this is why I often prayed for those who have been victims of sexual misconduct, also for those who have been guilty."
He quoted Christ: "Alas for the world that there should be such obstacles!" (Mt 18: 6-7). The Pope shares the grief of the bishops, priests and faithful dealing with weaknesses of some priests, many of whom have repented, and the trauma suffered by victims. Victims and culprits should be helped. The Holy See and bishops are studying the situation with experts in order to remedy it.
It is unfortunate, adds the Holy Father, that the media, while enjoying free information, make use of moral weaknesses as occasions for sensationalism. Morality is further endangered by this yellow journalism. This is modern-day cannibalism.
These deplorable gestures laid open to public scrutiny must not cause us forget the incalculable sum of virtuous and charitable acts rendered by consecrated men and women in the Lord's service.
We should not generalize about the number of consecrated people or priests at fault. It is easier to keep our eyes on the ground, to look at fallen fruits from the Church's tree. Let us raise our eyes. Let us contemplate the millennial tree of the Church, continuously loaded with good fruits. There are so many fervent religious and lay people. There are so many zealous priests.
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