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Why Pope Francis apologized for clergy’s sex abuse scandals

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Pope Francis apologizes for clergy's sex abuse scandals

By ALLAN TAWAI

Pope Francis has admitted his “pain and shame” over the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy on a visit to Chile which has been overshadowed by the firebombing of nine churches – allegedly by activists claiming a high-level cover-up.

“I cannot begin to express the pain and shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by some ministers of the church,” the 81-year-old pope said.

“I would like to join with my brothers in the episcopate, because if it is right to ask for forgiveness and to support the victims with strength, we must at the same time commit ourselves to make sure that this does not happen again,” he added.

The pontiff made his comments when he visited President Michelle Bachelet’s official Moneda Palace residence, drawing applause from pilgrims watching on giant screens in a Santiago park where he later celebrated an open-air mass for 400,000 people.

Nevertheless Francis did not receive a universal welcome, with fracases breaking out between riot police and demonstrators in the vicinity of O’Higgins Park.

Police used armored vehicles to fire water cannons at the demonstrators and arrested several people, bundling them into vans.

Many of the demonstrators chanted “paedophile accomplices” as they approached the park.

A man dressed as the pope and two other people dressed as nuns unfolded a banner from the balcony of a nearby building that read: “Francis, accomplice of paedophile crimes.”

Francis’ visit, his first to Chile as pope, has been overshadowed by a report outlining the depth of sexual abuse in the local church, and his appointment of a bishop who many here believe covered up the country’s most prominent sex abuse scandal.

The US-based NGO Bishop Accountability said ahead of the visit that almost 80 Roman Catholic clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing children in Chile since 2000.

For victims, the pope’s request for forgiveness did not go far enough.

“We need concrete actions that the pope has not taken with the Chilean church,” said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a lay association in the southern city of Osorno.

Claret’s group is demanding Francis remove Osorno bishop Juan Barros, whom he appointed in 2015, despite Barros’ ties to a disgraced paedophile priest Fernando Karadima.

The pope later told representatives of Chile’s clergy at a packed Santiago cathedral that he was “attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil.”

It was painful for the victims and their families, he told them, but painful also for them.

“I know that at times you have been insulted in the metro or walking in the street, and that by going around in clerical attire in many places you pay a heavy price.”

In his sermon at the mass, where the congregation included Mapuche women in traditional dress, Pope called for the rights and culture of indigenous people to be respected, so they could be treated as “a worthy child of this country.”

Earlier, he said in his speech to officials that indigenous peoples “can make a great contribution” to the environmental protection of the planet.

“We can learn from them that there is no true development in a population that turns its back on the earth and everyone and everything around it,” he said.

However, there was no specific mention of the Mapuche, with whom the pope is scheduled to meet Wednesday during a visit to Temuco, over 600 kilometers south of the capital Santiago.

Three Catholic churches were vandalized on Tuesday, including one in the Araucania region, where most of the Mapuche people live.

In a first for Francis, he visited a women’s prison, telling inmates at Santiago’s San Joaquin Female Penitentiary that “losing our freedom does not mean losing our dreams and hopes.”

About 100 inmates welcomed him with songs and excited applause, some of them with their small children.

“We need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can’t change, that it’s not worth trying. That nothing will make a difference. No dear Sisters! Some things do make a difference,” Francis said.

A jail sentence must offer opportunities for personal growth, he said.

“Public order must not be reduced to stronger security measures, but should be concerned primarily with preventive measures, such as work, education, and greater community involvement.”

 

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Africa

How Nairobi dust and old car tested Michele Obama’s love for her husband

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This year, First lady Michelle Obama was enjoying Beyonce and Jay Z’ performance in France while her husband Barack Obama visited his home and family in Kenya, Bondo.

The former American First lady Michelle Obama has now opened up on a possible reason why she did not accompany her husband Barrack Obama during his two recent visits to Kenya saying that her first visit in the country was just more than frustrating.

In her memoir titled “Becoming”, Michelle shared that on her first trip to Kenya in 1992 was full of misfortunes and even wore the wrong shoes. Obama’s sister, Auma, also had an old car that left her frustrated.

“Auma’s sky-blue VW was so old that it often needed to be pushed in order to get the engine into gear. I’d ill-advisedly bought new white sneakers to wear on the trip, and within a day, after all the pushing we did, they’d turned reddish brown, stained with the cinnamon-hued dust of Nairobi,” she shared. 

The 54-year-old who was born the US in 1964 added that the trip was also tiring and although she witnessed some beautiful scenaries, she was really frustrated.

“For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage. “I’m so angry at Barack,” I wrote in my journal. “I don’t think we have anything in common.” My thoughts trailed off there. As a measure of my frustration, I drew a long emphatic gash across the rest of the page,” the memoir went on.” she said. 

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Africa

Kenyans in US get discounts on fare, three luggage on KQ direct flight

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Kenya Airways has turned to the more than 100,000 Kenyans living in the US with generous discounts in a bid to shore up passenger numbers three weeks since it launched direct flights to New York.

National carrier, which has been grappling with low passenger numbers, says Kenyans who book tickets directly will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on fares and three of their luggage.

“The special rate for the Kenyan diaspora is only available for bookings made directly on our website,” Stephen Ngamau, KQ’s area manager for the Americas, says in a notice on display at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC.

“We encourage guests to enrol onto our database for more updates and offers… We look forward to having the Kenyan diaspora aboard Kenya Airways soon.” The fares on the New York route range between Sh79,000 and Sh105,000 depending on the booking period.

Kenya estimates the number of its citizens studying or working in the US at 130,000 even though other sources claim the figure could be as high as 300,000. The group has been very active in the country’s economic affairs with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data showing that North America accounted for 50.8 per cent of the Sh197.1 billion that citizens living abroad sent home last year.

The trend has continued this year with CBK data showing that Kenyans living in North America sent home Sh72.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing a 69.3 per cent growth over the Sh42.5 billion received in a similar period last year.

Kenya launched its daily non-stop flights to the US on October 28 in what government officials said would stimulate tourism, trade and investments from the world’s largest economy.

The national carrier is cutting back on flights citing low demand. It has rescheduled flights covering November to March and cancelled 10 flights between last Monday and December 5.

Business Daily

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Africa

Uganda deploys military, police to guard Chinese investors

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The Ugandan government has deployed military and police officers to guard Chinese investors after the latter threatened to leave the country following a wave of attacks.

Mr You Jing Shu, the chairperson of Guangdong Chamber of Commerce, a lobby of about 50 Chinese companies in Uganda, said last week that many investors were considering leaving unless the government beefed up security.

“I may personally be resilient to this kind of insecurity because I lived in South Sudan, which is more hostile than here. But other investors who are faint-hearted can leave,” Mr Shu said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

ATTACKS

On October 23, a group of unknown assailants raided the residential quarters of CCLE Rubber Company in Mbalala in central Mukono District injuring five people — three Chinese nationals and two Ugandans. The attackers are said to have made away with $11,000 in cash, mobile phones, and electronic appliances whose worth was unspecified.

Mr Chen Fan, the director of the company, told Daily Monitor that machete-wielding gang beat up the security guard, injuring him, and took away his gun which they later abandoned.

“This is scaring us. I feel I should leave the country because this is not the first company to be attacked. It is very bad,” Mr Fan said.

Uganda police spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima, said investigations on the attack and other similar ones are underway.

“We are taking this matter seriously. As I speak, I am in the field in Luweero (district that neighbours Mukono to the southeast) investigating a similar matter and very soon we shall come up with a solution,” Mr Kayima said.

MEETING

Last week, a delegation of Chinese investors met with top government officials over the rising wave of armed and violent robberies that have resulted in loss of life and property.

The closed-door crisis meeting was attended by the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo, Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the director-general of Internal Security Organisation (domestic spy agency) Col Kaka Bagyenda, and Mr Ronald Kibuule, the Mukono North MP.

The government assured the Chinese that they would be provided with armed guards.

Mr Kibuule told Daily Monitor that the meeting had been ordered by President Yoweri Museveni after the MP informed him of the attacks in his constituency.

Daily Monitor

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