DON BOSCO CENTER OF STUDIES
INSTITUTE OF THEOLOGICAL FORMATION
Paranaque City, Philippines
Author: Fr. Anthony Paul E. Bicomong, SDB
Title: The Effects and Impact on the Catholic Life and Beliefs of the Lay Mission Partners of Don Bosco Technical Institute–Makati City Regarding the Sexual Misconduct Committed by the Clergy
Adviser: Fr. Eligio Santos, SDB, PhD
Degree: Master of Arts in Theology
Specialization: Moral Theology
Sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy have erupted in recent years. The Church in the Philippines has not been spared and has apologized for sexual abuse cases committed by priests over the last 20 years. This study aims to evaluate the various probable implications of this crisis and to provide recommendations for the growth of priests in their vocation and ministry, and for the care of fallen ministers. It involves non-random purposive sampling for a survey involving Lay Mission Partners of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati City during the school year 2010-2011, specifically to determine the effects of sexual abuse on their Catholic life and beliefs. Since the issue is very sensitive, only lay leaders, or those with positions of trust and confidence, were selected.
The results of the study include the following: First, older Lay Mission Partners are more adversely affected by the sexual misconduct of some priests compared to younger ones, who tend to be more liberal in their beliefs and approach to Catholic life. Second, majority of the Lay Mission Partners are not affected and they continue to be faithful to their religious obligations in spite of the shortcomings of some priests. Third, they are highly aware of the sexual misconduct of some priests due to information technology and new media. Fourth, variables like gender, civil status, educational attainment, and years of service in the Salesian school did not have a significant bearing on the results.
The study gives the following recommendations so that priests can avoid occasions for sexual misconduct and better care for the flock entrusted to them: First, they should grow in holiness and communion with God through personal prayer, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Second, they should have access to ongoing formation to help nurture human qualities and values, and to strengthen their spiritual life through theological and pastoral updating. Third, they should have a Spiritual Director for counseling and guidance, helping to make obedience to the Divine Will a habit. Fourth, they should always meditate and reflect on the Word of God. And lastly, they should stay in love with Our Blessed Mother, model of purity, prayer, and pastoral love.