Ukraine prelate says Eastern take on abuse shaped by war, persecution
ROME - When representatives of Eastern Churches join a three-day anti-abuse summit convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican, many will bring with them the experience of living with war or violent persecution, traumas one leading Greek Catholic Bishop says increase the risk for abuse.
In an interview with Crux, Bishop Borys Gudziak, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of Paris, said the clerical abuse scandals are the result of “a collapse of virtuous living,” which he said ought to be “the essence of the Christian life.” [Note: On Monday, the Vatican announced that Gudziak has been appointed the new head of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and elevated to the rank of archbishop.]
Manipulation and abuse of power are also part of the problem, he said, noting that while some progress has been made, “there is a long way to go.”
“There are still countries where both Church and society are in massive denial regarding [abuse] and analogous issues involving violence and psychological manipulation,” he said, noting that for the Eastern Catholic churches the situation is even more complex because many are located in areas of conflict.
Ukraine and the Middle East are at war, whereas other churches in Africa and Asia suffer persecution, he said, noting that both “demean human dignity.”
When violence becomes a normal part of life, “sexual abuse proliferates,” Gudziak said. As a result, he said, “Eastern Catholics will, unfortunately, have something to share now and in the future on this agonizing subject.”
Gudziak spoke ahead of a Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors, called by Pope Francis to address the global clerical sex abuse crisis, which will include heads of all bishops’ conferences worldwide, the heads of Eastern Churches, and religious superiors and abuse survivors, among others.
Here are excerpts of Crux’s conversation with Bishop Borys Gudziak: https://cruxnow.com/february-abuse-summit/2019/02/18/ukraine-prelate-says-eastern-take-on-abuse-shaped-by-war-persecution/