The voice of hidden children of Catholic Bishops and Pastors of South Sudan: An appeal to Pope Francis
For Immediate Release
Hidden children of Catholic Bishops and Pastors living in South Sudan
Juba, South Sudan
As we follow the action taken by the Vatican to discuss and hold to account those within the church leadership who were involved in the abuse of those in their care (young boys and girls), those of us in warzone country of South Sudan must also speak up so the Vatican should also investigate the practice in South Sudan by church leaders and key Vatican representatives in the country. The smoke of war cannot be used to cover abuses.
Many of us children of these church leaders are tired of living in hiding. Once can imagine living with lies and growing old with lies of non-existing parents as mothers are nuns and fathers are bishops or pastors. The senior leadership of the Catholic Church in South Sudan is more concerned about the image of the church than about lives ruined by the action of individual Bishops and Pastors in the church. As sad as humanitarian situation in South Sudan may sound today, the alternative is worse, that is, young girls and boys in the Catholic church have endured endless abuses in South Sudan.
Others have been asked to undergo crude action like abortion process which sometimes took the lives of innocent girls. But again, South Sudan is known for its endless horrors of war and in comparison, to such hidden abuses by spiritual leaders, the tales and horror of war are easily documented sometimes with help of the same church leaders. Yet we watched in silence and wonder if really God can reveal the unspoken and unseen act by those preaching his word.
For a country which has been fed for many decades by foreign aid, the church leaders, with their share of charities, have exploited not only the faithful followers but also the poverty-stricken communities using church resources.
Seduced by the prospect for scholarship or better life elsewhere, many young people felt victim to this well-hidden abuse by church leaders. Parents of the young girls could not even dare to confront this ugly fearing the community backlash and possible isolation by friends. This may not sound convincing for others but here in South Sudan where we are reduced to permanent state of hopelessness by both political and spiritual leaders, community serves as the only protection shield against the unknown.
As the world in general and the Vatican in particular opens up this debate, we can only appeal to the honest church leaders in South Sudan to come out clean and safe us from this shame of not naming our biological parents.
It’s an open secret that many of our church leaders have done unspeakable sexual acts and got away with them using the cover of the church. Our country is already buried in the mountains of bad news and we do not wish to add to it but only appeal that the Vatican extend their investigation of abuses in the church to South Sudan.
We the hidden children of South Sudan church leaders appeal for the intervention of Pope Francis to safe our dignity and close our wounds of incomplete identity. We are ready to provide all the confidential information to help the investigation.
James Jada Lukudu