Gozo bishop asks for forgiveness from those who suffered from abuses in the Gozo diocese
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Report: Ruth Amaira
In an open letter to Gozitan priests, religious and laity, Gozo bishop Anton Teuma spoke for the first time in public following the news of alleged abuses in the Gozitan diocese. He appealed to sensitivity on such cases, asked for forgiveness and appealed to parents to build a good relationship and communication with their children since early age.
Bishop Teuma said that the news of the alleged sexual abuses in the Gozitan diocese was met with anger, pain and uncertainty. He stated that it is no one’s competence to enter into the merits of the cases, because this is the Court’s work which should seek the truth with facts. Until the truth is known, he added that personal judgements are hazardous and may instead disrupt the search for truth.
Mgr Teuma said every person is responsible for his act and the resulting consequences. He stated that there are many priests and religious who serve their ministry with fedelity and dedication, however there are some who instead of being of service to persons, end up abusing vulnerable persons.
“It is heartbreaking that I ask forgivessness to those amongst you who on some occasion or other have suffered abuses of every kind in the Church context, to them and their relatives”.
Bishop Teuma joined Pope Francis position in strongly reiterating that no type of abuse should be tolerated in society, much less in the Church. He said a helpline was launched linked with the Gozo branch of the Safeguarding of Minors so that victims and their relatives will find the necessary psychological support. He appealed for the sensitivity in the way the media reports such cases.
“Will it be better that in similar cases, the Court’s absolute authority and the obsession that everything has to be communicated in the media, are guided by the experience of psychological sciences in order to protect, first and foremost, the integrity of the human person?”
Mgr Teuma referred to the need that parents build a good relationship and communication with their children and pledged the commitment of the Gozo diocese to further strongly commits itself so that each boy and girl will have a positive experience that assists them to develop in mature and Christian individuals.