BY PATERNO ESMAQUEL II, RAPPLER.com
February 10, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – “The best way to care for the offender is to make him face up to the misconduct,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle said in a recent speech about priests accused of sexual abuse.
During a symposium in Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, Tagle explained the importance of making erring priests face the consequences of sex abuse. The symposium was part of an unprecedented Vatican conference that ended Thursday, February 9.
“He must be made aware of ecclesiastical and canonical processes governing his particular case. The bishop must carefully observe the procedures especially when the grave matter could lead to dismissal from the clerical state,” Tagle said, adding that the priest’s superiors should help him “start a new life” should he decide to leave the priesthood.
“All the way, every step should be taken to ensure fairness, truthfulness and compassion,” he said.
Tagle said superiors and bishops should also do their part.
“Superiors are battered from all sides. They are accused of covering up if you are discreet. If they are firm, they are accused of lack of compassion. But experience has taught that inaction, mere geographic transfer of priests and insensitivity to the victims compromise the integrity of the religious superior or bishop,” he said.
In his 8-page speech titled “Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Some Reflections from Asia,” Tagle gave 5 other “areas of response” to sexual misconduct, which cover areas like pastoral care for victims and the community.
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