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Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian-born nun, is one of only three women to address an unprecedented Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse.
She did not waste the opportunity.In clear, direct and unsparing language, Openibo challenged the church’s cult
ure of silence on sexual issues and said priests are too often put on pedestals. Openibo also criticized the pr
actice of letting elderly clergy who had abused children retire quietly with their pension and good names in place.
”Let us not hide such events anymore because of the fear of making mistakes,” Openibo said after reading a searing summ
ary of abuse cases she has heard about during her work on sexual education in Nigeria.
”Too often we want to keep silent until the storm has passed! This storm will not pass by. O
ur credibility is at stake.”Sister Veronica Openibo stands next to Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blas
e J. Cupich, left, and Father Tomaz Mavric as they wait for the Pope’s arrival at the beginning of the third day of a Vat
ican’s conference on clergy sex abuse.
At one point, Openibo appeared to look toward Pope Francis, who was sitting on the
dais to her right, when calling for a policy of “zero tolerance” toward clergy who abuse children.