Sin Calls for 'Purification' Amid Clergy Sex Scandal

ABS-CBN [Philippines]
Downloaded June 13, 2003

Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin on Friday called on his fellow clergymen to seek "purification and conversion," following a sex scandal allegedly involving prominent Bishop Teodoro Bacani.

Sin also called on the faithful to "assure your priests that you love them, that you will not abandon them and that you will always pray for them," despite the scandal that grabbed headlines in this largely Roman Catholic nation.

The scandal was triggered by the allegations of a former employee that Bacani had sexually harassed her.

Bacani quietly left Manila early Monday after issuing an open letter that said he was "deeply sorry for the consequences of any inappropriate expression of affection to my secretary."

However, Bacani's spokesman has denied he is guilty.

Sin said in a statement that June 22 to 29 should be a "week of prayer for the sanctification of priests."

"To my beloved priests, let this period be a moment of purification and conversion," Sin said.

"Let us pray for Bishop Ted Bacani. Let us pray for those who have been hurt by this incident. May the truth and charity that come from God prevail," said Sin, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in this country.

Sin said the issue "has been stretched beyond proportions," by the media, adding that while it was necessary to seek the truth, "the law of charity must prevail at all times."

He did not say if he believed Bacani was guilty or innocent.

President Arroyo had earlier urged the public to stop "feasting" on the issue while church leaders have urged people not to make a rush to judgment.

The Catholic Church last year publicly apologized for sexual abuses committed by Filipino priests, but insisted that a majority of clergymen remained faithful to their vows. monitor


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.