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India Catholic Cardinal Oswald Gracias "Abuse Victims"

  Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, on the occasion of the launch of the Bishops' Declaration on Climate Justice on 26 October 2018 in Rome, Italy.

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Cardinal Oswald Gracias told the BBC that it hurt him to hear accusations he had neglected victims of alleged abuses

One of the leading cardinals of the Catholic Church has admitted that he could have better treated the allegations against sexual abuse made against him.

Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, is one of four men who organize a major Vatican conference on child abuse this week.

We have found two separate cases in which the Cardinal, who is being asked by some to possibly become the next Pope, has not responded quickly or offered assistance to the victims.

Victims and those He supported the claim that Cardinal Gracias did not take abuse allegations seriously when they were reported to him.

India's Catholics say there is a culture of fear and silence in the Catholic Church for sexual abuse by priests. Those who have dared to speak say it is ordeal.

  • How will Pope Francis deal with abuse in the Catholic Church?
  • The ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was injured for abuse claims


The first case dates back to 201

5 in Mumbai.

A woman's life changed when her son moved from Mass to The church returned and told her the pastor had raped him.

"I could not understand what should I do?" She said she did not know that yet, but this incident would put her in a collision course with the Catholic Church in India

The man to whom she came to help was and remains one of the Church's highest representatives.

Nearly 72 hours after the alleged rape, the family briefly met Cardinal Gracias, then-President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and the Federation of Asiatic Episcopal Conferences.

The issue of sexual abuse in the Church is referred to in modern times as the greatest crisis of the Vatican, and the Integrity of the Catholic Church should have an impact on the outcome of this conference.

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Pope Francis with Cardinal Oswald Gracias (fourth from left)

Last year, the Catholic Church was repeatedly charged with sexual abuse around the world.

But while abuse claims have made headlines in North and South America, Europe and Australia, little is known about problems in Asian countries. In countries like India, there is a social stigma in reporting abuse.

Among Christians, who are a minority of nearly 28 million, a culture of fear and silence makes it impossible to gauge the true extent of the problem.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago – a colleague of Cardinal Gracias on the Four-member Organizing Committee – has promised that after the meeting, decisive action will be taken in Rome and dioceses around the world to protect children and bring justice to the victims.

Cardinal Gracias will open the second day of the Summit with a conversation on accountability in the Church.

This important role awarded to him during this crucial conference has made some unhappy in India.

They say his story of success in protecting children and women from abusers is questionable. Those with whom we have spoken and who have brought cases to him say that they received little support from him.

The mother of the abused boy said: "I told the cardinal what the priest had done to my child, in which my child was a lot of pain, so he prayed for us and told us he had to go to Rome … In that moment, my heart was hurt.

"As a mother, I had come to him with great expectation that he would think about me son, give me justice, but he said he has no time, he only cares about it To go to Rome.

The family says they have been asked for medical help but have not been offered any.

The Cardinal told us that it hurt him to hear, and he was unaware that the boy needed medical attention – and if asked, he would have offered them immediately.

The Cardinal admits he left for Rome that night without alerting the authorities.

By If Cardinal Gracias did not call the police, he might have Violated India's Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (2012) (POCSO)

The provisions of this law provide that if the head of a company or body fails to notify the commission of an offense with respect to a subordinate subordinate to him, he will be punished with imprisonment of up to one year and a fine.

The Cardinal told us that the next day he called his bishop, who told him the Fam I later informed the police myself.

When asked if he regretted not calling the police personally, he said, "You know, I'm honest, I'm not 100% sure … but I have to think about it, I admit "Whether the police should have interfered with it immediately."

He said he was obliged to judge the credibility of allegations by talking to the defendant.

After this meeting, the family decided to go to the doctor.

"He glanced at my boy and said that something had happened to him, this is a police case, either you report it or I will … so we went to the police that night," said the mother.

A police investigation revealed that the child had been sexually abused.

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India has about 19 million Catholics

A present priest, speaking to us on the condition of anonymity, said that this was not the first time that the cardinal had been alerted to allegations about this priest.

"I met him several years before this incident [alleged]." The priest told us.

"There were strong rumors about [the accused priest] in the diocese, and as if it were abuse, and yet it seems to move from one place to another, from one church to another, and the cardinal told me directly that he is not directly aware of all these things. "

The Cardinal says he can not remember the conversation. He says he did not remember a "cloud of suspicion" about the man.

"A Lonely Battle"

As part of our investigation, we wanted to find out if the cardinal acted slowly.

We found a case that goes back almost a decade and was traced back to him. Just a few years after he became Archbishop of Mumbai, he attracted attention.


Catholic activist Virginia Saldanha says that three legal cautions have been sent to the cardinal threatening to sue, unless they bring charges of abuse

In March 2009, a woman turned to him on charges of sexual abuse by another priest who performed retreats.

She says he did not do anything about the priest, so she turned to a group of Catholic activists who said they forced the cardinal to act.

Under pressure, he finally set up a committee of inquiry in December 2011. Six months after the investigation, there was still no lawsuit, and the accused priest continued to work in his parish.

"We had to send three legal communications to the Cardinal, threatening to bring the matter to justice, if that did not happen," said Virginia Saldanha, a devout Catholic who has been in various church positions for women for over two decades was active.

When the cardinal answered, he said, "The priest is not listening to me." [19659055] Caption

The family says that they have been ostracized by the church and isolated within their communities since the sexual assault have reported

During this time, Saldanha said that she had to leave the church because "I could not bear that man in the church holding a Mass. I did not feel like going there."

The priest was eventually removed from his parish, but the reasons for his departure were never published.

The punishment decided by the cardinal personally in October 2011 was a "guided exam and therapeutic consultation".

When we pushed him to the speed of trial and punishment, the cardinal said it was a "complicated case".

After a stay in the seminary, the accused priest was again briefly given a parish and still performs retreats.

Meanwhile, the allegedly raped minor's family feels abandoned by the institution in which they built their lives.

"It was a lonely fight," admits the mother. They say they have been ostracized by the church and isolated in their communities.

"After complaining to the police, when we went to church, people refused to talk to us and sit next to us during the Mass sat next to someone … they would get up and leave ", she said.

The hostility that they encountered "finally made us leave the church, but it became so difficult that we finally had to change our home and left everything behind."

Church members say it is hostility that makes it harder for victims and their families to speak out.

Trapped between a seemingly unsupported clergy and a hostile social network, many find their voices wavering.

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