A Nigerian nun, Sister Veronica Opening, has called on the leaders of the Catholic Church, to not keep num over the recent sexual assualts that have been occuring in the Catholic family.
She was backed up by a German cardinal, Reinhard Marx, who said that victims of such act have been silenced and church procedures ignored, canceled or overridden — all in an attempt to keep the scandal under wraps.
The both delivered powerful speeches to nearly 190 church leaders gathered Saturday for the third day of Pope Francis’ four-day tutorial on preventing abuse and protecting children.
Openibo was one of only a handful of women invited to the meeting, and she used her time at the podium to shame the church leadership as a whole — men and women alike — for their silence in the face of such crimes.
She said : “How could the clerical church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” she asked. “We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a church.”[gm_aritcle_ad]
Marx, on the other hand called for a redefinition of the Vatican’s legal code of secrecy, known as the “pontifical secret,” and for the publication of statistics about the problem. He said they would be a first step toward restoring trust with the faithful and preventing conspiracy theories that the church was continuing to hide abuse.
He said, “If we do not succeed, we either squander the chance to maintain a level of self-determination regarding information,” he warned, “or we expose ourselves to the suspicion of covering up.”
Francis summoned 190 bishops and leaders of religious orders to attend the conference in a bid to impress on the Catholic Church at large that sex abuse isn’t just a problem confined to a few countries but the whole church.
Openibo recalled in her speecg that the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” based on The Boston Globe’s prize-winning expose of clergy abuse and cover-up that sparked the explosion of cases coming to light in the U.S. in 2002.
Openibo, the superior of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus religious order, told African and Asian church leaders they must no longer justify their silence about sexual violence by claiming that poverty and conflict are more serious issues for the church.
“This storm will not pass by,” she warned them.