Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder said he would never tolerate any abuse within his Archdiocese and added that he knows of no one in the local Catholic ministry against whom any allegations of sexual abuse exist.
His comments came amid allegations of abuse that have swirled in various circles.
Pinder said it is unfortunate that there are some members of the Order of St. Benedict against whom allegations of sexual abuse have risen.
The archbishop said in a statement, “The Benedictines (Order of St. Benedict) had a long and distinguished association with The Bahamas which extended over a period of 120 years. They have done a tremendous amount of good for the religious and social development of this community, particularly in education.”
Pinder said he would never tolerate abusive behavior period — whether sexual or otherwise.
Referring to allegations against some members of the Order of St. Benedict, the archbishop said, “This casts aspersions on their colleagues, the vast majority of whom were men of excellent character and exemplary virtue.
“This is a sad development.” Pinder said he remains hopeful and prayerful that reconciliation can be achieved for those affected.
“I am thoroughly committed to maintaining safe environments for children and vulnerable adults in our community,” he said.
“In support of this, we have launched, here in the Archdiocese, the Virtus program for the protection of God’s children.”
The Virtus program, according to Virtus.org, identifies best practices designed to help prevent “wrongdoing and promote right doing within religious organizations”.
For more than a decade now, the international Catholic Church has been rife with allegations of sexual abuse brought against priests.
Some of the most senior officials in the Catholic Church in the United States and elsewhere have for years been accused of covering up reports of abuse and transferring clergy against whom those reports were made.
Last year, a group of victims abused by Catholic priests filed a formal complain to the International Criminal Court accusing the pope, the Vatican secretary of state and other senior officials of crimes against humanity.
The Catholic Church has spent years trying to sanitize its image amid the serious reports of sexual abuse and widespread cover up involving church officials.
The Nassau Guardian