Nuncio urges religious communities in Southern Africa to take the lead in addressing gender-based violence


He said: “It’s a complicated question, especially when you have people who don’t feel empowered, especially because they don’t have a job, they don’t have a future. They tend to become addicted to very toxic relationships, toxic situations. They don’t know how to cope because their self-esteem is so low.

The US-born Vatican diplomat hailed the Catholic Church’s efforts to address “abuse of minors and adults” as well as gender-based violence in the region, saying, “I think we we have very good programs in place to deal with this when it happens; however, we need to do a little better… We need to put a lot more emphasis on safety and prevention, safeguarding. There is much more we need to do.

“I see that in some areas that have great safeguarding policies in place, they’re usually places that have a lot more resources at their disposal, like money or trained staff,” he said. declared.

The 59-year-old representative of the Holy Father in the five southern African countries encouraged the Catholic Church in the region to seek funds from the international community to help poor communities solve problems related to abuse.

“One of the problems we have is that rural areas in particular, or very small, very poor dioceses don’t have these resources; they don’t have trained personnel, nor the money to send people to study and get the kind of training they need to implement truly effective safeguarding practices,” Bishop Wells said.

He added, “That’s where I think the universal church can be a big help, and we’ve seen some of that already. There are a lot of places like Misereor, a number of these programs across the international community that are connected to the Church, that provide funding, and they are now focusing a lot of funding on helping to train people , on the prevention of abuse, safeguard policies, etc.

He added: ‘It needs to be much more developed, but if we can do that and put those things in place, then we could offer to help the civil community around us and also put those things in place, and I think this can be a real contribution to civil society in the future in this area.

In the October 3 interview, Bishop Wells also spoke about the impact of mental health on young people and urged community members in the Southern African region to “shed the stigma of having a mental health problem makes you less than others”. ”

“The issue of mental health is not only here, it is everywhere. I mean look what is happening in the western world right now, we have a mental health crisis on every level as far as I am concerned,” Bishop Wells said.

He continued, “We even have a mental health crisis within the Church. Part of what we see, I think, with the struggles of many priests and religious today is mental health issues, mental health issues.


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