Many cases occurred in India and deserve recompense, official says.
New Delhi (UCAN):
A prominent Hindu group in India has asked Pope Francis to apologize to Indians who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Christian missionaries in the country.
The joint general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or world Hindu council, Surendra Jain, said Christian missionaries have sexually abused children in India and Pope Francis should apologize to the victims, reported the mass circulation Hindi daily Navbharat Times.
Jain was responding to the news of the pope's Sept. 27 meeting in Philadelphia with survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
In the 30-minute meeting with three women and two men, the pope said, "It is engraved in my heart, the stories, suffering and pain of the children abused by priests."
"I continue to feel an overwhelming sense of embarrassment because of those who had in their care the little ones and caused them great harm. I am deeply sorry. God cries," the pope reportedly said.
Jain told ucanews.com that Christian missionaries have been involved in such acts around the globe and the pope is offering an apology because there is pressure on him from the U.S. and other western nations.
In India too, "Christian missionaries have been involved in damaging temples and sexual abuse," Jain said.
"The pope has to apologize to Indians who are the victims of sexual abuse by the Christian missionaries," he told ucanews.com.
Jain said that there are "plenty of cases of sexual abuse of children and women by the Christian priests in the states of Karnataka, Odisha and Jharkhand."
"These cases do not make it to the national media. They are mostly reported in the regional local dailies of that particular region," Jain said.
Christian society in India is "not enlightened as in the West. Indians do not always come out and report if a person from the family becomes victims of sexual abuse by clergy," he added.
Father Gyanprakash Topno, spokesman for the bishops' conference declined to comment, saying he was not aware of Jain's demand. "We will respond, if necessary, after having seen the full text of the said demand," he added.