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Bishop: Africa not immune from paedophile priests

Africa is also affected by the scandal of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, the head of the Southern African Bishops Conference said on the council’s bulletin on Wednesday.

“The misbehaviour of priests in Africa has not been exposed to the same glare of the media as in other parts of the world,” said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale in Johannesburg.

Large-scale paedophilia scandals have rocked the churches of Ireland, Austria, the United States and Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany in recent months.

“The image of the Catholic Church is virtually in ruins because of the bad behaviour of its priests, wolves wearing sheepskin,” Tlhagale said.

“The halo has been tilted, if not broken. What happens in Ireland or Germany or America affects us all,” he said.

The conference is made up of bishops of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland.

Tlhagale said the church in the region had received 40 cases of abuse over the last 14 years.

He said the church does not take legal action against the accused, as it was the responsibility of complainant to seek legal recourse.

“However, canonical action has been taken in a number of cases, including dismissal from the canonical state,” Tlhagale said in an interview published in the council’s website. — AFP

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