Paulinus Aidoghie and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Pope Francis has demanded church leaders and the global community to rise to the increasing challenge of sexual abuse against female minors; within and outside the church.
The Pope believes the case is painting the church and global community in bad light, and need to be corrected as quickly as possible to restore the glory and dignity of the church.
His message was conveyed to Catholic Bishops and other priests by the President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze, at the opening ceremony of the first plenary meeting of the CBCN in Abuja, yesterday.
He said: “As Catholic Bishops, we are expected to be close to our youths because they are the future of our society. We ought to listen to their complaints, direct and guide them by appointing good chaplains for them.
“We must help them shape their destiny to the right part. They must learn to work for common goal. Pope Francis, at the recent summit on protection of minors against sexual abuse, challenged global leaders to rise to ugly cases of sexual abuse against female minors.
“Several victims of such abuse narrated their horrible experiences at the summit. They cried for justice and punishment for their abusers. Pope Francis, however ,asked Church leaders to take up the responsibility and ensure that victims of sexual abuse get justice. They should equally ensure that the church is made a safe environment for children and youths.”
Akubueze however charged church leaders to be accountable, transparent, and most importantly, see to the protection of female minors from sexual abuse.
He called on people working with female minors in churches and elsewhere, to ensure they are protect female minors in their care and also ensure they don’t suffer sexual abuse anymore.