Church credibility ruined by silent hypocrisy, sister tells summit

Light of truth

The hypocrisy of Catholic leaders who claimed to be guardians of morality yet remained silent about clerical sexual abuse has left the church’s credibility in shambles, an African woman religious told bishops at the Vatican summit on abuse. “Yes, we proclaim the Ten Commandments and ‘parade ourselves’ as being the custodians of moral standards values and good behaviour in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long?” asked Nigerian Sister Veronica Openibo, congregational leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Addressing Pope Francis and nearly 190 representatives of the world’s bishops’ conferences and religious orders on Feb. 23, Sister Openibo insisted the church needed to be transparent and open in facing the abuse crisis. In a poignant yet powerful speech, the Nigerian sister reminded the bishops of the church’s universal mission to be a light for the world and a “manifestation of the Christ we know as both human and divine.”

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