Fiji’s Archbishop offers an apology for abuse


The head of the Fiji Catholic Church has made an apology for the behaviour of  Catholic priests, religious and teachers who allegedly abused Fijian children.

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong was responding to a news report on TVNZ by pacific correspondent, Barbara Dreaver.

For the last year, 1 NEWS has been investigating claims of historic sexual abuse against children in Fiji’s Catholic church.

Dreaver was in Fiji just before lockdown and spoke to a number of Fijians who say as children they were abused and raped by New Zealand and Australian priests, brothers and teachers.

In making his apology Chong said:

“First and foremost, I empathise with people who are victims of sexual abuse.”

“I empathise with their hurt, anger, trauma and feelings.

I empathise with the pain that victims and their families have experienced and continue to experience.

I empathise with the brokenness they have to live with and affect the way they relate to others.

As head of the Fiji Catholic Church, I feel ashamed with the behaviour of our church personnel.

I feel angry. There is a heaviness in my heart yesterday and today.

My first reaction was not to want (to) talk to the media.

On behalf of the Catholic Church in Fiji, I express our remorse for past failures and extend our sincere regret and deep sympathy to peoples-victims of sexual abuse.

The Church apologises unreservedly for any abuse perpetrated by clergy or religious. Sexual abusers have failed the ‘Sixth Commandment’ – You must not commit adultery.”

Listen to the Archbishop’s apology.

The Fiji Sun reported that the archbishop also said:

“Sexual abuse is a serious problem in our society, not only in Catholic Church.

On behalf of the Catholic Church I apologise to victims of abuse, to their families, and to Fijian society – for the hurts inflicted on them by some of our priests, brothers and lay workers,” he said.

“The overwhelming number of priests and religious are faithful men and women who share the horror and grief that all people feel when sexual abuse is brought to light.”

“The procedures the Archdiocese of Suva follows today represent a serious and genuine effort to help victims of abuse and to eradicate sexual abuse from the Church.

We continue to work to learn from past experience and from the experience of victims to ensure that the danger of sexual abuse is prevented in the future.”

“For the Church and for the Archdiocese of Suva, prevention, justice and healing for victims of sexual abuse always come first.”

TVNZ reports that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in care is seeking information about New Zealand priests and other religious perpetrators who were moved to the Pacific.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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