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Resolutions Proposed to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Catholic Church

March 16, 2019, 1:30 PM HST
* Updated March 16, 11:53 AM
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Courtesy photo.

A Hawai‘i lawmaker has introduced legislation urging the Catholic Church to establish procedures to prevent further cases of sexual abuse by clergy members and offer reparations for victims.

“As a Catholic, I want the Church to come up with a concrete plan to move forward,” said Rep. Cabanilla Arakawa during a press conference about the legislation. “Time and time again the Church has accepted that there is a problem but has yet to come up with a plan to resolve the issue of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic clergy.”

Arakawa said she grew up in the Philippines where stories often surfaced about inappropriate behavior by priests, but no one took action.

“All children have an absolute right to safety and freedom from physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse,” she said.

The bills, HR69 and HCR69, urge the Holy See, Supreme Pontiff, and Bishops of the Catholic Church to establish procedures to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct and provide a way forward for victims to heal and maintain their faith.

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Numerous clergy members from around the world have resigned, lost their positions, or been convicted in criminal courts for sexual abuse. Pope Francis has acknowledged the shame and pain of the Church’s history of abuse, but no action has been publicly announced to prevent further cases.

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