Bishop calls for greater protection of children amid Covid-19 crisis

Bishop calls for greater protection of children amid Covid-19 crisis

Devotees observe physical distancing while attending Mass on the feast of Sto. Niño, outside the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño in Manila’s Tondo district on Sunday. PHOTO COURTESY OF MANILA DRRMO

By CBCP News

January 17, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has called on adults to protect and to care for children caught up in the coronavirus pandemic, even those that are not their own.

Speaking during Mass on the feast of Sto. Niño on Sunday, Bishop Broderick Pabillo made a special mention of minors “who are victims of violence, human trafficking, sexual abuse and cybersex”.

“It is true that we care for our children, nephews and our grandchildren. But we might be neglecting other children,” Pabillo said at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño in Manila’s Tondo district.

The administrator of the Manila archdiocese also referred to the mistreatment of children by specifically mentioning clerical sex abuse scandals of recent decades.

“So pedophilia is a big scandal that the Church deeply regrets and seeks to reform,” he said.

The prelate also called people’s attention to sexual exploitation in the family, especially amid the global health crisis.

In a country where poverty is prevalent, the bishop called for urgent action to protect the vulnerable children from abuse and neglect.

“We should all be vigilant to prevent this. If we are really devotees of Sto. Niño, we must unite to fight the exploitation of children,” he said.

The church official also lamented how children bear the brunt of the coronavirus restrictions.

He called on parents to spend more time with their children, who are unable to do any activities outside their homes due to the community lockdowns.

“We should give them extra time to teach them, play with them, tell them stories, and pray together. We need to create programs for children during this pandemic,” Pabillo said.

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