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Catholic Church apologises for sexual abuse cases in Portugal

by Kelly Valencia
Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo thumb.JPG - Banner image

The Catholic Church in Portugal has apologised for the hurt caused by decades of alleged abuse and cover-up.

During Sunday mass, the Archbishop of Lisbon urged people not to lose faith in the church. 

"Be confident that for our part we will do our best, with respect to the law and the gospel," Archbishop Manuel Clemente said. 

The apology comes a week after the Vatican confirmed reports that it had secretly sanctioned Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo in 2020, for misconduct allegations in Mozambique. 

Bishop Carlos won the Nobel peace prize in 1996 for fighting for the independence of East Timor, a small former Portuguese colony in East Asia.

The Portuguese Public Prosecution Service confirmed to Associated Press, the head of the Portuguese Bishops Conference, Bishop José Ornelas, is being investigated on suspicion of the cover-up of abuse by priests in former Portuguese colonies. 

Bishop José has denied any wrongdoing and has committed to cooperating with ongoing investigations.

These scandals have come amid a backdrop of disclosures by a committee looking into historic church sexual abuse in the country. So far, it has discovered at least 400 cases of alleged abuse by clergy.
The United Nations and advocated for victims have called on the Vatican to launch an investigation into Bishop Carlos' sudden retirement in 2002 and his work in Mozambique. 

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