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Father Shay Cullen is an Irish Columban missionary who has worked in the Philippines since 1969. In 1974, he founded the Preda Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to protecting the rights of women and children and campaigning for freedom from sex slavery and human trafficking.

Easter demands we work for abused children’s resurrection

Chlidren at the Preda Foundation Home in the Philippines are seen playing basketball in this undated photo.

Chlidren at the Preda Foundation Home in the Philippines are seen playing basketball in this undated photo. (Photo: preda.org)

Published: April 02, 2024 11:41 AM GMT
So many adults have been sexually abused as children by family members, they must help children facing abuse now

Easter season is the time to celebrate life and success and above all the happy lives of hundreds of children who were once dead in themselves and to the world but have found a new lease on life.

They suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuse. They were just existing but not living, dead in spirit and then saved, rescued, cared for, and healed and they came back to life. A resurrection from death in the spirit to a new life.

In one family alone, four children renamed the “Happy Four” were saved and healed at the Preda home, which works in the Philippines to save abused and trafficked children. All of them, aged between 6 and 14, were victims of online sexual abuse.

They survived years of abuse without hope that it would ever end because their parents, relatives and guardians were their abusers. They had an online sex abuse business. They horrifically sexually exploited the four children one by one, again and again, for different customers through live streaming over encrypted mobile phones to foreign pedophiles. They earned huge sums of money.

International police in Switzerland intercepted one of the transmitted sex shows sent by live-streaming through Philippine internet service providers to foreign pedophiles. They contacted the Philippine police. The rescued children were referred to the Preda Foundation home. They are now healed. They now play, sing, dance and happily go to school and study their lessons.

They have had their resurrection, a new life of freedom from abuse when they moved from suffering and sadness to freedom and happiness. They have had a new life experience coming from darkness to light. They expressed all their suffering and sorrow through Emotional Release Therapy. They were empowered and became strong so that they have the courage and confidence and are ready to testify and win justice in the court of law.

Every year, an average of 20 Preda children win convictions of abusers. They are then free of that abuser for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of child victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse have had their spiritual resurrection having been rescued and given new life at the Preda Foundation.

The law will mandate unhampered speedy trials through continuous hearings as recommended by the Supreme Court, each to be completed in two to three months. Strict rules for prosecutors, police and judges will be implemented to deliver justice.

The new law will mandate the establishment of many more therapeutic homes with trained staff including therapists and paralegal officers. The homes will be continually supported and funded by local governments.

All of us need to know and experience an awakening, a spiritual resurrection to the truth about the widespread sexual abuse crimes against children that are untreated and left without help or therapy.

The UNICEF reports that seven million Filipino children are abused every year and get no help. One child in every three are victim of sexual abuse. Many people are aware of child abuse and many suffer in silence. They should help other victims and become advocates of child rights. That will be healing for them, too.

The clergy is wrong for defending the abuser and silencing the victim. They ignore the words of Jesus who said about child abusers that a large millstone should be tied around their necks and they be thrown into the deep sea (Matthew 18:1-7).

They who deny, cover up child abuse and leave abusers to continue in a diocese (there are several in the Philippines) are in violation of the law of God and man. A single act of sexual intercourse against a child under 16 is statutory rape. 

Bishops have misplaced fear of the imagined shame and disgrace clerical child abuse brings on them, on the priesthood, on their dioceses, on the church, and the loss of donations. It is kept secret and the priest is sent to hide in another parish or sent abroad. That is misplaced. They ought to be ashamed that they covered up for an abuser and failed to protect the child victims.

They need to have true faith and believe that acting justly will undo evil. That protecting children and bringing the cleric to justice is praiseworthy and to their everlasting merit. They will be admired for following the instructions of good Pope Francis that there must be zero tolerance for clerical child abuse in the church.

Doing good, speaking the truth and seeking justice for the victims is having Faith as Jesus of Nazareth said and did. When the disciples failed to help the children get a blessing, Jesus was angry at them. “Allow the children to come to me and don’t stop them. The Kingdom of heaven is for the likes of these children” (Mark 10:13 -16).

The rights and dignity of children are the top priority of Jesus. “When you accept one child you accept me.” (Matthew18:1-6).

Child abuse is a grievous sin that even Jesus said is hard to forgive. There must be accountability, penance and punishment, he said.

So many adults have been sexually abused as children by family members and they cannot emotionally face that painful historical truth. They must help other child victims.

*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.

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