Caritas PH takes measures to prevent clergy sexual abuse
Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, speaks during the launching of the “Alay Kapwa” for Luzon at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd in Quezon City on Feb. 3. MINNIE AGDEPPA
By Minnie Agdeppa
February 14, 2020
The Catholic Church’s social action arm has joined efforts to curtail the sexual abuse of minors by priests in the country.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said that part of the measure is to conduct ‘background checks’ of all social action directors.
“(We will) proactively make background checks of all Caritas directors on national and diocesan levels,” he said.
The priest made the statement during the launching of the “Alay Kapwa” Lenten campaign for Luzon at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd in Quezon City on Feb. 3.
Caritas Philippines is also known as the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa).
Gariguez clarified that the goal is to determine whether a priest has been involved in any abuse case, particularly of children.
Addressing the diocesan social action directors present, he said that “we hope you won’t be offended. We are doing this to show that we do not tolerate cases like these.”
“Thus, if the need for each diocese to have a training on this matter and the mechanism on how this will be done, we will create and provide it for the protection ministry,” he said.
Clerical abuse should not be happening within the confines of the Church, he said: “but admit it or not, and though we rarely admit it, it is happening.”
“Thus, we should have a mechanism on how cases like this should be reported and how to address this problem,” said Gariguez.
In July 2019, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) agreed to create a new office that will look into the cases of clerical abuse and augment the efforts in the diocesan level.
In May last year, Pope Francis’ moto propio “Vos estis lux mundi” decreed that all dioceses must have a “public, accessible and reliable” system for reporting cases of clergy sex abuses.