A media report on sexual abuse in the Catholic schools of Fiji has caused “great shame”, according to Suva Archbishop Peter Loy Chong. Source: Crux.
Television New Zealand’s 1 News spoke to several Fijians who said they were abused and raped as children by New Zealand and Australian priests, brothers and teachers working in Fiji’s Catholic schools.
“As head of the Fiji Catholic Church, I feel ashamed with the behaviour of our Church personnel. I feel angry. There is a heaviness in my heart yesterday and today,” Archbishop Chong said in a July 13 statement.
“First and foremost, I empathise with people who are victims of sexual abuse. I empathize with their hurt, anger, trauma, and feelings. I empathise with the pain that victims and their families have experienced and continue to experience. I empathise with the brokenness they have to live with and affect the way they relate to others,” he said.
Murray Heasley, from the New Zealand-based Network of Survivors in Faith Based Institution, told 1 News that Fiji’s Catholic schools were a “fertile ground for grooming” for sexual predators.
“Inside Fiji, it’s even more problematic because Fijian culture tends to hold these people in very high regard and give them massive access which they exploited,” Dr Heasley said.
Archbishop Chong said the Church “apologises unreservedly” for any abuse perpetrated by clergy or religious. He said “prevention, justice and healing for victims of sexual abuse always come first” for the Fijian Church.
Abuse in Catholic schools in Fiji causes ‘great shame,’ says archbishop (By Charles Collins, Crux)