The spokesman for the 48th general assembly of the National Conference of Brazil, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, clarified Thursday that the recent statements by Archbishop Dadeus Grings of Porto Alegre, who remarked that the country suffers from a “pedophile society,” have been taken out of context by the media.
He added that Bishop Grings' remarks do not constitute the opinion of the bishops’ conference.
While Archbishop Tempesta said he does not share the opinion of Archbishop Grings, he clarified that Archbishop Grings' comments were an attempt to explain the responsibility society has for the abuse of minors, apart from the abuse committed by clergy. “We do not share the idea of accusing anyone, but it is clear that the Church is suffering from the reality of today’s world and from today’s society,” he said.
“Each bishop is free to express his opinion,” the archbishop continued. “Each one is free to speak according to his understanding and his ideas. The official opinion of the bishops’ conference can be found in its official statements,” he said.
He went on to say that Archbishop Grings has been misunderstood. “He did not accuse the entire society of pedophilia in the sense that it is been reported” by the media.
The Church condemns every form of abuse and extends her affection and care to the victims, Archbishop Tempesta said. She also understands that abusers must be punished according to the laws of each country. “Those who commit crimes should be judged according to the laws of each country, of Brazil and of all the others,” he said.