THE CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS AND THE CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES

  • James McTavish Verbum Dei
Keywords: Clergy Sexual Abuse, Filipino Church, Protection of Minors, Sexual Abuse Crisis, Victims of Sexual Abuse

Abstract

At a global level, much valuable research has been published on clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Critical insights gained have highlighted the extent of the problem, and assisted the overall efforts to provide healing to victims. Pope Francis has been particularly active in encouraging the whole Church to confront the issue, and seek for much needed healing remedies. In the Asian context, the issue of clerical sex abuse is rarely approached. This is in line with a general continental avoidance of discussions in any way connected to problems regarding sexuality. This essay will first review some general considerations of clerical sexual abuse on the global scale before looking more closely at the issue in the context of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Whilst some progress has been made in the Philippines setting, efforts are largely stifled by the cultural taboo of speaking out, the shame of revealing such episodes, the high esteem shown to the Clergy, and the reticence of the Church to vigorously investigate and pursue any such allegations. The recent legislation of Pope Francis (Vos estis lux mundi), which makes reporting of clerical sexual abuse mandatory, could hopefully go some way in encouraging the Church in Asia to respond more adequately in its mission of protecting minors and vulnerable adults.

Author Biography

James McTavish, Verbum Dei

James McTavish, from Glasgow, Scotland, has spent over 17 years as a missionary in the Philippines. He originally studied Medicine at Cambridge University, England, and qualified as a medical Doctor. He gained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCSEd), before doing specialty training in Plastics and Reconstruction. He then heard the call of the Lord to heal the Body of Christ through evangelization. He completed his Licentiate in Moral Theology at the Alphonsianum in Rome and a Masters in Bioethics at the Regina apostolorum, graduating summa cum laude in both, before teaching courses at the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila and in the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. He has published over 55 articles in international journals on moral theology, sexual ethics, bioethics, and spirituality, along with 10 books. He is currently the Provincial of his Verbum Dei community in the Philippines. 

References

“40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury REPORT 1 Interim—Redacted,” Available at https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/report/

“Sexual abuse of minors by catholic priests, deacons and male members of orders in the domain of the German Bishops’ Conference.” Summary in English available at https://www.dbk.de/fileadmin/redaktion/diverse_downloads/dossiers_2018/MHG-Study-eng-Endbericht-Zusammenfassung.pdf

Benedict XVI, “Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to the Catholics of Ireland” (19 March 2009), Available at http://w2.vatican.va/ content/ benedict-xvi/en/letters/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20100319_church-ireland. html

Buena Bernal, “How the Catholic Church in the Philippines Deals with Clergy Sex Abuse of Children,” 22 Feb 2019, CNA Asia, Accessed at https://www. channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/how-catholic-church-philippines-deals-clergy-sex-abuse-children-11279602.

Cameleon Association, “The Keys to Understand.” Available at https://www. cameleon-association.org/contexte-aux-philippines/?lang=en

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy,” 1 September 2003 (ad experimentum for 3 years), http://bishop-accountability.org/Philippines/news/2003_PASTORAL_ GUIDELINES_ON_SEXUAL_ABUSES_AND_MISCONDUCT_BY_THE_CLERGY.pdf

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “You did it to me!” Pastoral Exhortation on the Pastoral Care and Protection of Minors, 22 January 2016, 1 & 6, https://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/you-did-it-to-me-matthew-2540/

Charles Scicluna, “Interview of Msgr. Charles Scicluna conducted by Gianni Cardinale on the Strictness of the Church in Cases of Paedophilia,” 2010. Available at http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_mons-scicluna-2010_en.html.

Claire Lesegretain, “Few Sex Abuse Scandals in the Asian Church to Date,” 13 February 2019. Accessed at https://international.la-croix.com/news/few-sex-abuse-scandals-in-the-asian-church-to-date/9448.

Council for the Welfare of Children and UNICEF, 2016. “National Baseline Study on Violence against Children: Philippines.” Executive summary, October, https://www.unicef.org/philippines/sites/unicef.org.philippines/files/2019-02/ phl-nbsvac-resultssummary.pdf.

Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson, “Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports,” Centre for Global Research School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne, 2017, 91. Available at http://www.tjhcouncil.org.au/media/ 139234/170913-child-sex-abuse-and-the-catholic-church-reaserch.pdf

Ferdinand Patinio, “Priests in Sexual Abuse Cases being Probed: CBCP,” Philippine News Agency, 22 February 2019, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1062723

Francis D. Murphy, Helen Buckley, Laraine Joyce, “The Ferns Report: Presented to the Minister for Health and Children,” October 1995. Dublin: Stationery Office, https://www.lenus.ie/bitstream/handle/10147/560434/thefernsreport October 2005.pdf;jsessionid=489B8F866AFD13CC984629AD209B4A4B?sequence=2

Francis, “Vos estis lux mundi,” Apostolic letter issued Motu proprio, 7 May 2019, Art.1, § 2a & 2b, http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/ documents/papa-francesco-motu-proprio-20190507_vos-estis-lux-mundi.html

Francis, Apostolic letter “On the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable persons,” (26 March 2019), http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/documents/papa-francesco-motu-proprio-20190326_latutela-deiminori.html

Gabby Dy-Liacco, “Understanding Victims/Survivors,” Basic Orientation Workshop on Safeguarding of Minors (BOWS), Catholic Safeguarding Institute (CSI) of the Emmaus Center for Psycho-Spiritual Formation, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines, 27-31 May 2019, using sources from the “National Catholic Risk Retention Group.”

Irish Government, “Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin,” Available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/ PB09000504

James McTavish, “Same Sex Attraction and the Priesthood,” Ethics and Medics 44, 4 (April 2019).

Joe Torres, “Philippine Bishop Tells Sex Abuse Victims to Speak out,” UCAnews, 19 February 2019. Available at https://www.ucanews.com/news/philippine-bishop-tells-sex-abuse-victims-to-speak-out/84541

John Jay College, “The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, 1950-2002,” Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2004. Available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Nature-and-Scope-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-and-Deacons-in-the-United-States-1950-2002.pdf

Laurie S. Ramiro, Bernadette J. Madrid, David W. Brown. 2010. “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Health-risk Behaviors among Adults in a Developing Country Setting,” Child Abuse & Neglect 34, 11 (November 2010) 847, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/ S0145213410002243

Luis Antonio Tagle, “Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Some Reflections from Asia,” 5. Available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/ resources/upload/Reflections-from-Asia-Tagle.pdf

Philippine Commission on Women, National Machinery for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, Republic Act 7610, “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” https://pcw.gov.ph/law/ republic-act-7610

Rev. D. Paul Sullins, “Is Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy Related to Homosexuality?” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 18, 4 (Winter 2018).

Stephen J. Rossetti PhD DMin, “Learning From Our Mistakes: Responding Effectively to Child Sexual Abusers,” Available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/resources/upload/Rossetti-Learning-from-our-mistakes.pdf

Published
2020-06-30
How to Cite
McTavish, J. (2020). THE CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS AND THE CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES. Asian Horizons, 14(2), 289-306. Retrieved from http://dvkjournals.in/index.php/ah/article/view/2901