21 May 2009

Fears for welfare of children in Catholic Church institutions in East Timor

SYDNEY 21 May 2009 ETLJB - The Roman Catholic Church's spiral into an ever-deepening spiritual and moral crisis over endemic violations of the rights of children in the care of ecclesiastic personnel and institutions has raised alarm about the welfare of children in Church orphanages and schools in East Timor as the latest report in Ireland on the abuse of children by the Catholic Church in that country has caused a new wave of horror and disbelief in communities across the globe.

"With frequent and continuing revelations of shocking and gross abuses of the rights of children by the clergy - priests, nuns, monks and members of other orders of the Catholic church, we are extremely concerned about the many children in the care of the Church in East Timor. The long war with Indonesia left thousands of orphans. Orphanages are also places where the very poor place their children even though they are not orphans" said Warren Wright, publisher of the East Timor Law Journal.

"It is a fundamental duty of the state to protect children - to safeguard their physical, spiritual and moral integrity from the predations of any entity intent on destroying the lives of the young and defenceless - as hundreds of Roman Catholic clergy have done to thousands of individuals in the past and in modern times.

As more and more new atrocities of sexual and other physical and psychological abuse of children by Church personnel come to light, we can only fear for the safety of any child in any Roman Catholic institution in any country," said Mr Wright.

"Flowing from the State's essential duty to protect the child is a power to make enquiries into institutions within its jurisdication. The State should undertake investigations of Roman Catholic institutions who have children in their care to determine whether violations have been or are being committed and to compel these institutions to demonstrate that the children are not in any danger. There must be sufficient systems of control and monitoring to detect and prosecute violations of the rights of children when ever and where ever committed," he added.

"This includes East Timor where the Catholic Church's hegemony has reached an unprecedented level."

Image: Who is protecting the children of East Timor?

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