Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two sex scandals rock Hong Kong Church

Two sex scandals rock Hong Kong Church
Published Date: July 13, 2010

Two widely reported sex scandals in the space of five days have shocked Hong Kong Catholics and prompted a parish to help its congregation to come to terms with them.

The first scandal, surrounding Divine Word Father Gregorius Harapan, school supervisor and pastor of St. Edward’s Church, broke on July 4. One of Hong Kong’s biggest selling dailies alleged a love affair and reported a number of obscene text messages between the Indonesian priest and the married woman who was his Cantonese dialect teacher. He has not been seen at the church since late 2009.

During Sunday Mass on July 11, a statement from the Divine Word Society was read out to parishioners, saying that Father Harapan had left his duties due to emotional disturbance and his father’s sickness and is now in Europe. It did not confirm or deny the newspaper report.

A second scandal made headlines on July 9 after Nguyen Van Truyen, a Vietnamese deacon at St. Jude’s Church, appeared in court the previous day to answer charges of molesting a Church housekeeper. He pleaded not guilty and the case was adjourned until July 19.

Leaders at St Edward’s Church responded by arranging a prayer gathering on July 25. “The aim is to help parishioners remain firm in their faith and pray for our clergy and the universal Church,” said Francis Tang Chi Ho, parish chairperson. “It also aims to help them build up a positive mindset to face the bad news,” he added.

Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, vicar general of Hong Kong diocese, said he would not comment on Nguyen’s case as it was still ongoing. However, he said that the succession of sex abuse cases throughout the Church in recent years could usher in a time for purification of the Church. “We have to remember to remain loyal to our decision and loyal to the Church,” he said.

Source: ucanews.com

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