FaithWorld

Africa also suffers sex abuse by priests: Joburg RC archbishop

April 8, 2010
africa crucifix

A member of the faithful shows a crucifix to Pope Benedict XVI during a youth rally at the Dos Coqueiros stadium in Luanda, Angola March 21, 2009/Alessandro Bianchi

Sexual abuse by Catholic priests is a scourge in Africa as well as the Western countries where scandals have badly hurt the Vatican’s image, a leading African Catholic archbishop has said.

Archbishop of Johannesburg Buti Tlhagale said the damage weakened the Church’s ability to speak out with moral authority in Africa, where it has at times been a rare voice challenging dictatorship, corruption and abuse of power.

“What happens in Ireland or in Germany or America affects us all,” Tlhagale said in a message on April 1 that was published this week on the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which Tlhagale heads.

“It simply means that the misbehavior of priests in Africa has not been exposed to the same glare of the media as in other parts of the world,” he said. “I know that the Church in Africa, is inflicted by the same scourge.”

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