The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) began this early month the process leading to the formulation of "a protocol that addresses various types of
sexual abuse and misconduct."
The initial process took a full day of the Bishops' 85th Plenary Assembly, held on July 6 and 7 at the Betania Retreat House in Tagaytay City. The Bishops studied the first draft of
a protocol prepared by a committee tasked for this by the Episcopal Commission on the Clergy (ECCler) and led by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Lipa Arch-bishop Gaudencio B. Rosales, ECCler chair, and Imus
Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle. The Assembly listened to inputs from and held initial consultations with a psycho-logist and a judge before breaking up into workshops to further discuss the issue involved.
protocol, which will provide the general guidelines for all the dioceses in dealing with cases of sexual offenses of priests, will be finalized only after exhaustive study by the Bishops and intensive con-sultation with
experts from among the lay people, and religious men and women. CBCP President Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I, earlier announced that the Conference expects to finish and release the draft by
In a message issued at the end of the Bishops' Plenary Assembly, Archbishop Quevedo acknowledged the cases of grave sexual misconduct by clerics and religious in the Philippines. He asked forgiveness
for the "grave sins committed by some leaders against members of the flock", even as he underscored that a great majority of the clergy and the religious remain faithful to their priestly and religious commitments.
"We realize that forgiveness and apologies must flow into a commitment to be purified and renewed," the CBCP President said. The protocol, he added, will provide steps for this "profound renewal."
Bishops' Conference of the Philippines is composed of 120 members, 95 active and 25 honorary. The 85th Plenary Assembly was attended by 83 active members and three honorary members of the Conference.