Clergy Sex Scandals a 'wake-up call' for Church

Monday, April 26th, 2010

MANILA, April 22, 2010-The clerical sex abuse crisis should serve as a wake-up call for the Catholic hierarchy, a church official said.

It also boils down, according to Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, to where the priests came from-seminary formation.

He said the situation shows the need for human and spiritual formation programs for priests and seminarians on the tragedy and specifically on the topic of sexuality.

A former seminary formator himself, Abacahin said the pastoral reality of celibacy and sexuality especially in the area of formation of future priests must be confronted at the stage of formatives years.

"The recently sex scandals raised especially to the highest position (pope) is a wakeup call for formators to confront and to address the question of celibacy and sexuality," Abacahin said.

He said it should not be taken as a mere subject but seriously on a private level and spiritual direction and counseling especially in the formative years.

The priest called for much more attention to the role of human formation, a factor integrating the intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation.

Human transformation, he said, includes development of emotional, psychological and social maturity.

Abacahin served as spiritual director and spirituality formator of the San Jose de Mindanao Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City for 10 years.

At present, he is the executive secretary of the Office on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

He said the situation calls for formators to intensify more and give top priority on the area of the implication on celibacy and sexuality.

"It is a wake-up call that this reality must be addressed seriously by formators... it should not be taken as a mere subject but it must be part of the whole integral process of the formation," he added.

"It should not be difficult to deal with in the seminary... this thing must be openly discussed between the spiritual director and the counselor," he also said. (CBCPNews)