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Abuse: Sister Sammut (White Sisters), “engage the laity in the fight”, for it is not enough that “bishops just speak among themselves”

“Where are the laity, men and women, who make up the biggest part of the Church?” When are we going to stop equating Church with ministers of the Eucharist?”. Sister Carmen Sammut, former president of the UISG (International Union of Superiors General) and superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters), asked herself these very questions as she saw the participants in the Summit on Abuse convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican last February, in which she took part along with nine other women religious and three lay women. “As long as bishops just speak among themselves, I don’t think they will go far in meeting the questions of today’s world”, the nun said, as she spoke at the second day of the 92nd Meeting of the Union of Superiors General (USG) underway in Ariccia. As I listened to the victims, Sr. Sammmut explained, “I felt helpless in front of their great suffering, and angry and speechless that someone can hurt a person to such depths”. “How can we, who pretend to follow Christ more closely, who have privileges as ministers in this Church, treat others in this way?”, the nun asked, underlying how serious a problem it is not to take “one’s responsibility with regard to the victim and to the perpetrator”.

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