Pope Francis said: “It’s true,” said Francis simply. “There are priests and bishops who have done that … Should more be done? Yes. Do we have the will? Yes. But it is a path that we have already begun.”
But in reacting on what Pope Francis said, Mary Dispenza who is a former nun and works with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a victims’ advocacy group had said “I’m really angered by the words of the pope just now”.
“I am angered by the Pope not standing up and really speaking out about the tragedy, and actions he will take,” she said.
As far back as the 1990s, Sister Maura O’Donohue reported a case in Malawi where 30 nuns in one congregation were impregnated by their priests, only for the nuns to face replacement after daring to come forward to the Archbishop.
A 44-year-old nun accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the patron of her community of 81 sisters, the Missionaries of Jesus of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. Her accusations prompted a two-week public protest from her fellow nuns in rural Kerala — a Catholic stronghold — and an ongoing police investigation. Many nuns said that they too had faced rape and other forms of sexual abuse. But unlike their sister, they didn’t dare to go public about what they had endured.
According to Sister Josephine Villoonnickal, a nun had said ‘‘Even if you have to die, don’t submit yourself,’” one priest told the victim during confession, according to Villoonnickal. ”‘Be courageous.’”
Mulakkal, who has denied the charges against him, was showered with flower petals from a throng of supporters upon his recent release from prison and return home. Was it that the church, society, and shame conspired to silence them from speaking up?
In Nigeria here and precisely in Nnewi Catholic diocese, Sister Angela Ejidike had dragged Bishop of Nnewi Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev. Paulinus Okeke and six other Catholic priests in the church to a Federal High Court sitting at Awka, Anambra State to restrain them from harassing, attacking or molesting her.
The Church had levelled an allegation of fornication against her hence she dragged them before Justice Peter Olayiwola who restrained the police from further invasion of the Sister Ejidike’s premises in connection with her complaints as contained in the Motion on Notice or further violation of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the case.
The Applicant, Sister Ejidike a devout Christian who took a private vow of perpetual virginity had gone to court alleging attempts on her life by persons she described as agents of the Bishop and the six priests.
The nine respondents in the case are Most Rev. Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke, Rev. Fr. Christian Eze, Rev. Fr. Alexander Umenweke, Rev. Fr. Ernest Amobi Ebulue, Rev. Fr. Luk Ibeh, Rev. Fr. Jude Ezike, Rev. Fr. Pius Ilechukwu, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Police Command and the Inspector General of Police. She traced her travails to August 2002 when one of the priests “invaded me in the gathering of Christian faithful at Nnewi and chased away people who came for counselling and consultation.
“The same priest concocted fornication allegation against me and another Catholic priest who happened to be the Director of Catechetic and Evangelization where I rendered my services and faith. “In order to completely destroy me, the priest reported the concocted lies to the Nnewi Diocesan Senate of Priests where the 1st – 6th Respondents are equally members. “Without any investigation, the priests started spreading this false fornication story which later got to my hearing and that of the priest who was also accused.
The Applicant recalled that she, together with the accused priest used to carry out Evangelization Programme which attracted over 20,000 faithful; “but we were unaware that the 1st – 7th Respondents were not happy with the development. She noted that even after she went for virginity test to prove her innocence, she was evicted from the Cathetical centre and forced to get a private residence. This happened in 2005 and court was in 2011 is yet a mystery to unfold?
At Gudu Upper Area Court, Abuja, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ochigbo, Parish priest of Church of Assumption, Asokoro, was remanded in police custody for alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl. Ochigbo was arraigned on a one-count charge of rape.
The priest asked the complainant to leave her 10-year-old and eight-year-old daughters to spend the night with him, which she did but when the complainant went back to the defendant’s house to pick her children, she discovered an unusual movement from her 10-year-old daughter.
The complainant asked her daughter why she was moving unusually, the victim said that the defendant forcefully had carnal knowledge of her without her consent during the night.
The priest pleaded not guilty.
A 16-year-old girl in Akure has explained how one Josiah Akinsuyi tricked her with N50,000, put her in family way and abandoned her. Josiah, a pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, in Akure, the Ondo State capital reportedly enticed the victim with the money, which made her dump her former boyfriend, Sunday Babatunde. But the money was not given to her by the pastor, who kept promising to do so, while sleeping with her. The teenager was discovered to be four months pregnant after a pregnancy test was conducted on her.
“Investigation also revealed that the elder sister of the girl has something with the pastor, because the first time he wanted to sleep with the victim, she refused until she informed her sister who told her to cooperate with the pastor.
In Benue state, a Catholic Priest according to report reaching CRACO impregnated a 14-year old girl. The suspect said to be the Parish Priest at St. Christopher Catholic Mission, Nanev, Mbawar, Adikpo, kwande LGA, Benue state, Rev. Father Nicholas Ashir at the time this incident took place.
The victim was a female Mass Servant at the mission. It was alleged that one day after the evening mass, the suspect asked the 14-year old girl to wait behind and prepare a meal for him. By the time she could finish doing that, it was late and he offered her a room to sleep in. Late at night, the Priest visited the room and found the girl awake because she was afraid to sleep on the bed in a strange room. The priest cajoled her to lie down and then had sex with her. The girl stated that from then, she became the Priest’s sex object until she discovered she was pregnant in October, 2018. She is six months pregnant.
We were informed that at the moment, the priest has been suspended, while investigative panel has been set up by the church. The Priest denied being responsible for the girl’s pregnancy, but the 14-year old girl certainly knows who impregnated her.
CRACO said it is their collective responsibility to protect the younger generation, particularly the girl child who they must all unite to say no to the prevalence of Child Sexual abuse, defilement and rape of little girls in our society.
That priests having sex will dent the holiness of the church,” and that “Catholic doctrine does not permit Rev. Fathers to marry or have sex,” are no longer news. What is news is why the randy priests would not stick to these vows? Why should priests lusting or soliciting for sex? Female members of Catholic Church have some confessions to make about randy priests even with the celibacy vows? Should celibacy still be an optional vow or not?
Priests position themselves as close family friends. They invite parents and their children to visit their parish and females treated like Princesses and males like Princes. Though given a guest room, they visit at midnight, then amorous touching. If you express shock and disappointment, then they would explain to you that priests are also humans and that you should try to help him. I have witnessed this first hand not tale tell.
Has a priest called you aside after his ordination to tell you that he wants you to be his girlfriend or male friend, even with the priestly oath? Has a priest pestered you for sex and love affair? Has your parents warned you about acts of kindness from priests? Do you know of a priest who keeps young girls for sex partners or as girlfriends, pretending to be on missionary work with them? Wonderful gifts, cash and sponsorship of your education, then sex?
A priest was quoted as saying that every other priest has a girlfriend because ‘’We have feelings; we are human beings. Even Rev. Sisters have boyfriends; in fact, they make love’’. Can this be said by a priest? Was it the inability of some priests to put in check their libido that moved a group of 11 retired high-ranking Catholic priests, who were anointed in 1967 in Cologne , a Roman Catholic stronghold from Germany to request the Vatican to abolish priestly celibacy?
They are of the opinion that every man should have the right to choose to take the vow or not as other Protestant and Orthodox Church pastors do.
Remember the German priest, Stefan Hartmann, who secretly fathered a daughter in 1989, eight years after he took his vow of celibacy, who sent a personal petition to Pope Francis asking him to waive his vow of celibacy, as posted on his Facebook page.
Is the zeal to be ordained a priest flagging because of celibacy? Are priests with tinted glass cars use it because of their girlfriends and women lovers? Is there hypocrisy in the Churches, Pentecostals, Protestants and Roman Catholic? Which is better, continuing in celibacy and keeping his sexual desires in check; leave the priestly ministry even if it is against the Theology or continue clandestine sexual relationship as far as it won’t get any scandal?
Is it true that those involved in sexual abuses indulge in that not because they are married or not married but because they lack self-control? So whether a Reverend Father, a Pastor or a Reverend makes no difference?
But is God’s ways our ways? Not at all! Remember God told the people of Israelites to kill all midianites but they should keep young virgin girls as war booty. That sounds wrong to us as Christians but God commanded that. God told Saul to destroy the people of Amalekites but he didn’t and God punished him severely. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart while increasing plagues and killing innocent people. First born sons of Egypt were killed but God allowed it. Should we judge who the Lord has not judged? Who was that God struck dead for wasting sperm while making love to his brother’s wife? Onan, right?
Who is to be blamed over these sex scandals, the nuns, the priests, the men, the boys, the ladies , the girls, the society or who?
Cornucopia is a weekly column of Odogwu Emeka Odogwu. Odogwu is a known Journalist, Editor, Media Consultant and famous Blogger, as well as Social Media Entrepreneur, publisher and Conversationalist @ www.odogwublog.com among others.
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