By Matters India Reporter
Yangon, March 4, 2019: The president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) has called upon fellow prelates in the region to support Pope Francis’ call to protect children.
“After painful hearing of the victims of the terrible crimes of sexual abuse against minors committed by members of the clergy we sincerely ask for forgiveness for what we did wrong and for what we failed to do,” Cardinal Bo said in a statement issued on March 3.
The Salesian prelate from Myanmar had attended the summit on “The protection of minors in the Church” in Rome where the key words were “Responsibility, Accountability, and Transparency.”
The February 21-24 summit put forward three action plans– Motu Proprio (a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him), a Vademecum (a handbook or guide for consultation) for bishops, and formation of global task force to protect children and prevent abuse.
“As shepherds entrusted with the flock, we know their pain and healing their wounds is at the core of the shepherd’s task,” Cardinal Bo reminds the bishops.
In collegiality with the Pope and summit delegates, the Asian Episcopal conferences fully endorse the words of St John Paul II who said, “People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young.”
The cardinal recalled Pope Francis warning, “If consecrated persons, chosen by God to guide souls to salvation, let themselves be dominated by their human frailty or sickness become tools of Satan.”
He does not hesitate to assert, “The Church’s aim will thus be to hear, watch over, protect and care for abused, exploited and forgotten children, wherever they are.”
Heeding to the call of Pope Francis, cardinal writes, “I would like to stress the important need to turn this evil into an opportunity for purification.”
He concludes his message saying, “Let us entrust our resolve to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of the clergy, to journey with us toward structural renewal necessary to root out from the Church every form of abuse, not only sexual but also of power and conscience.”
The FABC established in 1972 is a federation of 16 or 19 Bishops’ Conferences from Bangladesh, East Timor, India (both the CBCI and the individual conferences of the Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Roman Rites), Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos-Cambodia, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan (RoC), Thailand and Vietnam. Associate members are from Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Novosibirsk (Russia), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.