.- Bishop Bernardo Hombach of Granada, Nicaragua, said in an interview this week with the newspaper “La Prensa” that there is “much hypocrisy” in the way in which the media and society treat cases of sexual abuse by priests.
Although there are few cases of clerical abuse in Nicaragua, Bishop Hombach mentioned well-known cases in other countries, saying the policy of the Church should be “zero tolerance.”
“As a pastor, the bishop always remains responsible (for the accused priest). I think that when he is sure there is something very serious going on, he must remove him,” he said.
Bishop Hombach underscored that both spiritual renewal in one’s vocation as well as friendships with other priests are key to avoiding infidelities in one’s call. “Celibacy and a certain poverty in a priest’s way of life only have meaning if he sees them in the context of his vocation.”
Nevertheless, he said that accusations against priest represent in his opinion “a great hypocrisy in society.”
“As a priest I can tell you that here (in his diocese), 1 in 5 women have been raped before the age of twelve. Perhaps 1 in 9 men were raped before the age of nine. And I can say that 1 in 5,000 or 10,000 was abused by a priest, but nobody seems to notice the other 9,999 cases.”
“Only when it’s a priest involved to be people say anything,” he continued. “And that in a society that his completely hypocritical and living sexual license to the extreme.”
"I am sure that whenever any of my brother bishops are aware of a particular case, that priest is removed from ministry immediately,” he concluded.