P.M. urges public to pray for Catholic priests

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has urged the public to pray for Catholic priests.

The call comes as the Catholic Church tries to deal with the fallout from the sentencing of Cardinal George Pell in Australia last week.

The Australian Cardinal – who was Pope Francis' top financial adviser and the Vatican's economy minister – became the most senior cleric of the Catholic Church to be found guilty of child sex abuse in his home town of Ballarat.

The Prime Minister, during his media conference recently, said the allegations surfaced several years ago when he was 40 years old. 

“It’s alleged the incident occurred when he was about 40 years old sometime ago, however to date there are records and witnesses are still around who were well aware of the malicious acts by this servant of God." 

“However, not long after his promotion in the church this came hunting him and these types of issues happen to other denominations. We all know what the devil seeks,” Tuilaepa said.

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The Prime Minister said when it came to women, men are susceptible, especially priests who are not allowed to marry and should remain celibate under the rules of the Catholic Church. 

He then explained the biblical aspects of the reasons behind Catholic priests and nuns remaining celibate all their lives.  

“In this time and age, temptations are everywhere, hence the fall of this priest, who had since appealed the decision." 

“Yet in other people’s eyes, he is guilty. Nowadays once you are charged, you are guilty, even before you stand trial,” he added. 

The incident occurred when the Cardinal was in his 40s, the Prime Minister reiterated.

“He’s maybe in his 70’s and I reflect upon what Paul said (in the Bible) that when I was young, I acted as a child and now I am old, I am mature. But then again, no matter what you say, the law will judge you accordingly.” 

Tuilaepa then criticized the media for directing the questions to him instead of the Catholic Church hierarchy. 

“This is why I always appeal to the public to pray for our Priests, they too are not angels. They are the anointed servants of God as the devil is always after them.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa is in Israel this week.

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