Indian nuns, congregation demand justice for sister allegedly assaulted by bishop

Indian women join a protest march in , in Jalandhar, Kerala, on September 12, 2018 to demand the immediate arrest of Roman Catholic Church Bishop, who is accused of raping a nun. (AFP / SHAMMI MEHRA)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Indian nuns, congregation demand justice for sister allegedly assaulted by bishop

  • Five priests were arrested last month in India in two different sexual assault cases
  • The Roman Catholic Church in Germany acknowledged a “depressing and shameful” legacy of sexual abuse on Wednesday

NEW DELHI: A group of Indian Catholic nuns are staging a rare street protest in the southern state of Kerala demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop.
Police have called the bishop named in the complaint for a second round of questioning next week. The bishop has denied wrongdoing.
The case comes at a time when the Christian community, which accounts for 19 percent of the state’s population, is reeling under an erosion of trust as sexual abuse cases involving the clergy pile up.
Five priests were arrested last month in two different sexual assault cases, while last year, a Catholic priest who was trying to flee the country was arrested after a minor he is accused of having sex with gave birth.
The nun in a letter said she wanted the Vatican to intervene. She said she was forced to make matters public after several attempts to seek justice from within the church failed.
The protest, now in its sixth day in Kochi, Kerala’s financial hub, is gathering momentum as the locals, activists, writers and politicians come out in support.
A man, who is on an indefinite hunger strike, lay in front of the stage where the protesting nuns sat. A nun coordinating the protest dismissed allegations that they were trying to disgrace the church.
“Our fight is for the truth. We will not back out unless the truth is established and the nun is given justice,” she told Reuters.
The Catholic Church in Germany acknowledged a “depressing and shameful” legacy of sexual abuse on Wednesday after a leaked study said clerics had abused thousands of children over 70 years.
The leaked study was published on the day that Pope Francis, who has made several attempts to tackle a spreading sexual abuse crisis that has badly tarnished the Church’s image worldwide, summoned senior bishops from around the world to the Vatican to discuss the protection of minors.

 


Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

Updated 27 min 9 sec ago
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Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

  • Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition
  • A series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections alleged that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade

MANILA: Opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed shock and outrage on Friday at police moves to charge dozens of them with sedition, calling it persecution aimed at stamping out scrutiny of his increasingly powerful rule.
Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition for orchestrating a series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections. The videos feature a hooded man alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade, which they deny.
The man, who had said he was a witness, later surrendered and appeared with police on television to say his claims were false and that he was cajoled into making the videos by opposition members. They included the vice president, lawyers, Catholic priests, a former attorney general, and incumbent and former lawmakers, the man said.
The justice department is looking into the complaint, which is the latest move against Duterte’s detractors who say the aim is to create a power monopoly for a president who already enjoys a legislative super-majority and a public approval rating of about 80 percent.
Duterte insists he is open to challenges but has shown no qualms about threatening high-profile critics, several of whom he said last month he would jail if they tried to impeach him.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had no involvement in the police sedition complaint.
“We have nothing to do with this case, not at all, absolutely nothing,” he told news channel ANC. “Let the judicial process do its work.”
Antonio Trillanes, a former senator and Duterte’s strongest critic, described the complaint as “political persecution and harassment” intended to stifle democratic dissent.
A spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and was elected separately, called the complaint “completely baseless.” Her party ally Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was part of a series of moves toward removing her from office.
Leila de Lima, an anti-Duterte senator detained on drugs charges, said it was “hogwash, pure hogwash,” and Samira Gutoc, a candidate in recent Senate elections, urged the police not to become partisan.
“I really am baffled,” Gutoc said of being accused of involvement.