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African bishops to use own resources to deal with sex abuse

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Southern Africa has been criticised by police and children's rights groups following the recent announcement of its policy to deal with clergy sexual abuse through its own channels and not refer complaints to police.

Conference president Cardinal Wilfrid Napier told reporters in Pretoria last week that although the church condemned the sexual abuse of children by priests or any other church personnel, it has procedures in place to deal with these cases and would not refer them to police.

Napier said any information received by a priest in confessions could not and would not be revealed.

The Bishops have published a document titled Integrity in Ministry, which asserts in its Foreword that abuse in all its forms, and especially abuse of power and sexual abuse, must be condemned and every step must be taken to prevent further occurrences".

Response of Catholic Church in Southern African to Child Abuse by Church Personnel (24/4/02)


14 May 2002