Prayer "is of great value in reconciling the victims of abuse with the Church and helping in some way to heal their wounds. As a Commission we are aware that first of all we need effective and practical measures to combat the scourge of sexual abuse, and our work is focused on finding solutions and on increased awareness of this terrible phenomenon. But this cannot and must not undermine or overshadow the value of prayer. Which has a value: as a Catholic, I believe that all our work should be taken forward in close connection with the Lord”, Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco, Filipino and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children tells AsiaNews.
The doctor is in Rome for the groups general meeting. He joined the
Commission created by Pope Francis in 2014: A psychotherapist for
children and adults, he is also the pastoral counselor in his country
for the care and reintegration of victims of abuse sexual. His comment
on the value of prayer comes from the fact that the Commission proposed
that the Pope establish an international day of prayer for the victims
to be held in various countries of the world.
Full faith in the fact that God is love, Dy-Liacco tells AsiaNews,
"must be the core of the rest of our work, of the as it were 'practical'
part. It is essential, though of course we should never think that
prayer is the only way to defeat this practice, that would be a great
mistake, a mistake that, in some cases, was committed in the past".
In fact, in an attempt to avoid ineffective solutions, the
Commission’s key role is to propose concrete strategies: "We have two
tasks: one is to study the phenomenon and to present to the Holy Father
with common guidelines that can combat pedophilia. On the other we must
also develop different 'action plans', that can adapt effectively to the
different cultures throughout the world. It would make little sense to
propose a valid formula for all behavior, because this does not exist.
Of course, there are obvious limitations that everyone must respect, but
the way of being in some areas of the world is different from others.
We must take of all this into account".
A first step, and a first signal of change, has already occurred
during the two years of the Commission's life: "We have been and
continue to be invited around the world to meet, discuss, explain. Both
from a legal point of view and from the psychological and medical point
of view: the episcopal conferences but also religious orders, the
Institutes of Consecrated Life and all other Catholic 'agglomerations'
want to know from us the right steps to take. This aspect is very
important: it shows the will to create a common network which would
finally and radically eliminate abuse".
Dr. Dy-Liacco believes that there are three fundamental aspects to be
put in place to carry on the work of helping end this scourge in the
Church: "To raise awareness about this phenomenon, talk about it, so
that is recognized as such: in many countries around the world abuse is
not a topic which is discussed at the coffee machine, and this is
understandable. But to stop a phenomenon you must make sure that it is
discoverable and stigmatized as soon as you experience the first signs
The second aspect is that of education and prevention: "It is really
the most important aspects of our whole battle. If we can put into
practice a serious and shared plan and we can prepare all those involved
to live their mission in an honest way, maybe we will be able to avoid
the third and last aspect, that of intervention. In any case it is clear
that this too is an essential aspect and it must be determined and
transparent. There should be no passing on of responsibility, in this
Pope Francis inspires us and gives us strength".
The Commission's work, the doctor concludes, "is not meeting with any
real resistance. But we have registered that there is a great deal of
ignorance and very little practical ability in dealing with these
situations. Not only, to be honest, in the particular Churches, but also
and especially in the societies that are involved. The abuse of a minor
and vulnerable adult is a terrible tragedy for those who suffer the
abuse and for families, but it is important to defeat the concept of
silence that sometimes shrouds abuse. We have to be what the Pope
described in his recent document on the issue 'As a loving mother' for
these people. It is the most important and most difficult part of our
work, but with God's help, we will continue to move forward".