After defending that repentant priests should be forgiven, Archbishop of Beja goes back and says that "there is no place for abusers"

The Archbishop of Beja, João Marcos, apologized after suggesting that priests suspected of sexual abuse, if they are repentant, should be forgiven and now defended that “there is no place for abusers in the priesthood”.

In a statement published on the Facebook social network page of the diocesan newspaper Notícias de Beja, consulted today by the Lusa agency, the prelate admitted to having failed in the statements he gave to the SIClast week, on the topic of sexual abuse in the Church.

“Due to my mistake in the way and timeliness of what I said, I implied that I underestimate the enormous gravity of sexual abuse of minors and that God’s forgiveness allows the abuser to resume his normal life as if nothing had happened”, he stressed.

Underlining that “by no means” is this his thought on the subject, the Archbishop of Beja said he understood “the disappointment” he caused with the statements “inside and outside the Church” and “to all” he now asks for forgiveness.

In the statement, João Marcos clarified his thoughts on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, considering that “the abuse of minors is of the utmost gravity” and that “its effects are devastating”.

“If practiced by men dedicated to God, they are even more serious and are blasphemous”, he stressed.

The Alentejo prelate defended that “there is no place for abusers in the priesthood”, stressing that “credible suspicions force measures to be taken to avoid any danger to minors, including removal from pastoral tasks”.

“The investigation must be swift and follow the clear rules defined by Pope Francis. Collaboration with the authorities must be full and civil and criminal law must be fully complied with, ”he pointed out.

As for the victims of alleged abuse, he concluded, “they must be a priority” and “their need for support and reparation must guide” the Church’s accompaniment.

The Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church validated 512 testimonies, pointing, by extrapolation, to at least 4,815 victims. Twenty-five cases were sent to the Public Ministry, which opened 15 investigations, of which nine were closed.

The testimonies refer to cases that occurred between 1950 and 2022, the time span covered by the commission’s work.

In the report, released in February, the commission warned that the data collected in ecclesiastical archives on the incidence of sexual abuse “should be understood as the ‘tip of the iceberg’” of this phenomenon.

The commission provided diocesan bishops with lists of alleged abusers, some still active.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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