Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "We will enhance structures for reporting any cases of abuse; and we commit to accompany victims in their healing process, and especially bring perpetrators to account", say the Bishops of South Africa Botswana and Swaziland, gathered in the Southern Africa Catholic Bishop's Conference (SACBC) in the statement published at end of their Plenary Assembly held from 30 July to 6 August in Mariannhill (see Fides, 1/8/2019)
Recalling the Motu Proprio of Pope Francis, "Vos Estis Lux Mundi", which "set out specific new norms which give clear guidance to the Bishops in working with the cases of abuse in the local Church", the members of the SACBC decided "to send suitably disposed people to do special studies on the safeguarding and protection of children and vulnerable adults, so that the problem of abuse is not only addressed more fully and professionally, but also prevented from happening".
The Bishops say they are concerned with "the escalating violence in society", a problem that must be addressed, in families. "Clearly this is a project that extends right down into the family. Sadly that is where much violence is taking place. So, it has to be the place where we focus of our fight against the culture of violence, which is destroying us as a people", says the document, sent to Agenzia Fides. "In particular we commit ourselves to making a special effort to make the safety of women a major priority in the Catholic Church".
"We urge all, starting with our leaders, to cultivate a culture of respect for life, a culture of responsibility towards the weaker ones in society.
In particular, our political leaders to live up to the expectations, hopes and aspirations of those who voted them into positions of service and responsibility by doing their duties faithfully", the Bishops say, concluding by renewing their commitment "in building a better society and restore the image of the Church so severely tainted by the abuse scandals". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/8/2019)