Women Speak Frankly at Vatican Summit on Sex Abuse

Sister Veronica Openibo, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Nigeria (ALESSANDRA TARANTINO / AP)

La Croix International provided excellent coverage of the Vatican summit on sexual abuse. Below is a snippet from Women at Vatican Summit Call Bishops to Complete Transparency (Feb 25, 2019). The links lead to presentations by Sr. Veronica Openibo, Linda Ghisoni, and Valentina Alazraki. I recommend reading their primary source presentations.–Rose Berger

From La Croix International:

Three women — a religious nun, a canon lawyer and a journalist, took Catholic bishops to task for their silence and cover-up in an attempt to keep the scandal of clerical abuse under wraps at the recent Vatican sex abuse summit.

“How could the clerical church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” Nigerian Sister Veronica Openibo, leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, told bishops Feb. 23 at the Vatican summit on child protection.

“We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a church,” she said.

Sister Openibo, a member of the executive board of the women’s International Union of Superiors General, was one of 10 women religious participating in the summit.

She also told African and Asian bishops present that they must not justify their silence about clerical sexual abuse by claiming that they are involved in combating serious issues of poverty and conflict.

“Let us not hide such events anymore because of the fear of making mistakes. Too often we want to keep silent until the storm has passed! This storm will not pass by,” Sister Openibo said.

Linda Ghisoni, a canon lawyer, is undersecretary for laity at the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life was the first woman to give a major presentation at the Vatican summit on child protection and clerical abuse crisis.

Addressing the summit Feb. 22, Ghisoni said the Catholic Church should re-examine how the “pontifical secret” is applied in clerical sex abuse cases so there is greater transparency in the cases and it is not invoked “to hide problems,” The secret ensures cases are dealt with in strict confidentiality.

“A bishop cannot think that questions regarding the church can be resolved by him acting alone” or only with other bishops, she said, urging bishops not to resist having regular audits of diocesan safeguarding policies and of the ways they or their review board have handled allegations.

Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, the Vatican correspondent for Mexico’s Noticieros Televisa since the pontificate of Paul VI said bishops if they are truly serious about fighting clerical sex abuse, must join forces with journalists and not view them as enemies plotting against the Catholic Church.

“But if you do not decide in a radical way to be on the side of the children, mothers, families, civil society, you are right to be afraid of us, because we journalists — who seek the common good — will be your worst enemies,” she said.[]

Read the whole article here.

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