Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal
A senior Church official is calling for a review of an existing protocol on sexual misconduct committed by members of the clergy following guidelines issued earlier this year by the Vatican in dealing with cases abuse cases committed against. "We will examine if what we have is sufficient, if it matches today's needs," said Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, a member of the Episcopal Commission on Clergy Formation of the bishops' conference. He said the bishops' conference
submitted to Rome "Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct by the Clergy" in September 2003. The Vatican announced on May 16 new guidelines for bishops on how to deal with victims of abuse by members of the clergy; the protection of minors; the formation of future priests and religious; support of priests; and cooperation of Church officials with civil authorities. Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu
said he will ensure the guidelines are followed and that the rights of both perpetrators and victims are protected. "First, we should be humble and honest and admit that indeed it has happened, and for that we apologize. We strike our breasts in contrition. We should not deny it," Archbishop Palma said. "The second important point is that we should find a way to help the victims. Third, we should also find a way to help priest in some kind of rehabilitation," he added. The prelate said the guidelines issued by the Vatican also emphasized that candidates for the priesthood "should be formed with an appreciation of chastity and celibacy." "This is a must in the screening of candidates," said Cardinal Vidal.