Vasai (AsiaNews) – “Zero tolerance must be exercised against those guilty of sexual abuse, especially if members of the clergy. Civil justice must be applied and full justice given to the victims of such abuse. But the fact remains that, especially in India, there is an exaggerated hate campaign against the Pope, accusing him of doing nothing against paedophilia, which is profoundly false, since this Pope is one of the most firm and courageous Popes to deal with such cases. "
Mgr. Thomas Dabre, bishop of Pune and president of the Theological Commission of the Indian Bishops 'Conference of the Latin rite, comments to AsiaNews on the proposal of the National Bishops' Conference for a code of conduct against sexual abuse. The Indian bishops are preparing to discuss this issue with the superiors of religious orders: at the end of the meetings the guidelines on how to address the issue will be issued to all the clergy.
For Mgr. Dabre, "From the point of view of the Doctrinal teaching, abuse is intrinsically evil and the priest is the promoter of teaching in his ministry and it is beyond comprehension that he could engage in such activities. The Church’s morality has always condemned things like pre-marital sex, extra marital sex, child abuse and, of course, the sexual abuse of the minors. I would suggest that a zero tolerance would be exercised towards those found indulging in such crimes".
To send out the directives, the bishop continued, "we must study the issue from different angles. From the standpoint of theological anthropology, for example, we cannot dismiss a child and its personality as matters of little concern. Theological anthropology also considers sexuality. The child doesn’t know anything about the sexual act committed on him. It is a traumatic experience for the child. Then there is the angle of pastoral theology; if a priest starts abusing, nobody will come to us for confession or visit us for counselling".
For this, he adds, " proper procedures should be followed while considering corrective and penal measures for the offender. Likewise, it has to be looked from the angles of cannon law, civil law, psychology etc. We have to design out a policy taking all these factors into consideration. "