Tagle remarks validate Duterte criticisms vs. Church – Palace

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Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 22) — Malacañang on Friday welcomed the "pained admission" of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle about sexual abuse by the clergy as a validation of President Rodrigo Duterte's criticisms against the Catholic Church.

Tagle, in a spiritual talk during the historic Vatican summit on clergy abuse scandal, said he and other religious leaders "humbly and sorrowfully admit" that they have inflicted wounds on sexual abuse victims by their lack of response to their suffering - "to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution."

Hours after the unprecedented summit, Malacañang in a statement said Tagle's remarks were "a significant undertaking in raising awareness on child abuse committed by the members of the clergy."

"This is a common theme of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's speeches and a validation of his running criticism on the men of the cloth," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Duterte has frequently attacked the Catholic Church, accusing it of corruption and abuse and mocking its practices and beliefs. He has said that he himself was molested by a priest when he was young. The President has repeatedly dared anyone to debunk his allegations and has called for reforms in the Catholic Church.

Panelo on Friday said Tagle's "pained admission on the clergy's long kept secret abomination is part of the wrenching and cleansing process that the Church is undergoing."

Malacanang also agreed with Pope Francis that "concrete measures" are needed to address the issue.

READ: Pope calls for 'concrete measures' as summit on clergy sexual abuse begins

"We remain confident that with Pope Francis at the helm, whose pontificate brought a surge of energy and fresh air into the life of the Roman Catholic Church, the spirit of reform will continue unhampered to further cleanse and rejuvenate the Church," Panelo said.