Pedophile priests not common in PH – Bishop

Manila, Philippines - A former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday said that pedophilia cases are not common among Filipino priests.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said while pedophilia cases involving priests may be common in other countries such as in Europe and North America, this is not common in the Philippines.

In fact, he said, in all the years that he has been part of the CBCP National Matrimonial Tribunal he has yet to handle a pedophilia case involving a Filipino priest.

“Here in the Philippines, pedophilia involving priests has never been a problem,” he said.

“Ever since I started working in the Tribunal in the 1980s…I have yet to process one single case,” added Cruz.

Earlier, it was reported that then Pope Benedict defrocked nearly 400 priests for raping and molesting children in his last two years as pope.

Cruz said if ever there is a case of pedophilia involving a priest, this did not reach his office.

“Maybe it just did not reach my office or the priest just left without bothering about the church norms anymore,” he said.

Cruz, who is in charge of the dispensation of priests, said most of the cases that he handled involved the priest’s violation of his obligation on celibacy and continence. “Most of the cases are about a priest being involved with a woman…or a priest getting married which is against celibacy,” Cruz said.