CBCP chief to youth: We will not ‘evade’ problem of sexual abuse

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(Photo by Genielyn Rosario M. Soriano/The Varsitarian)

DAVAO Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, assured the Filipino youth of the Church’s proactive response to cases of abuse of minors by clergy during the grand festival night of the National Youth Day in Cebu.

“I am sure the clergy [is] one with the Holy Father in asking for forgiveness. [T]he Church is very much ready to admit the situation. [W]e will not evade but we will understand the problem,” he said in the “Dialogue with Bishops” at the Cebu City Sports Complex on Saturday.

“Do not be afraid to go to your bishops, priests and unburden with your hurting,” he said.

“We will continue to say sorry and beg to the Lord and those who are hurt by the wrongdoing that has been done. Be assured that the Church is going to accompany those who have been hurt. Let us know, and realize that we are committed to [do] all we can to stop this,” he said.

Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, also encouraged pilgrims to share their stories to help others feel that they have not been abandoned.

“A lot of young people isolate themselves, feel depressed. In the National Youth Day, you met a lot of people who now become your brothers and sisters. May those who felt abandoned, feel loved through you, delegates. You become relevant and you became a friend to the lost, the last and the least,” Jaucian said.

Put down phones, enjoy silence
In his homily, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabiele Caccia called on the 12,000 youth delegates to value silence and real communication.

“We need silence in life to realize who we are, to be conscious that we are a living person. Free yourself of mobile addiction. Life is not a contact, it gives you real communication,” he said during the closing Mass on Sunday.

Caccia said the fruit of silence is prayer, which leads to a life of love and peace.

“The fruit if prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace,” he said.

Activities during the six-day national event included living with foster families, parish nights and a pilgrim walk.

The Archdiocese of Caceres in Naga is the next host for National Youth Day.

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