Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on devotees of the Child Jesus Sunday to unite against child abuse.
“If we are really devotees of the Sto. Niño, we should be united in fighting the exploitation of children,” he said during a Mass at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño de Tondo in Manila for the Feast of the Child Jesus.
The prelate reminded devotees that this is one way of showing devotion to the Child Jesus.
“Devotion is not only shown in prayer, it is manifested in various ways such as…giving importance to children and their rights,” said Pabillo.
“It is true that we take care of our children, our nephews, grandchildren but we may neglect other children,” he added.
Pabillo cited the many victims of violence, human trafficking, sexual abuse, and cyber sex in the country.
The prelate also lamented that the abuse of children also happen in church and homes.
“Even in the church, child abuse occurs. That’s why pedophilia in the church is a big scandal and we deeply regret that,” Pabillo said.
“But the sexual abuse happening in the family itself is much bigger especially now during the pandemic period when everyone is confined in their homes,” he added.
Pabillo urged everyone to be “vigilant” to prevent this.
Traditionally celebrated every third Sunday of January, the Feast of the Sto. Niño traces its roots to the 16th century when Princess Joanna of Cebu was given an image of the Sto. Niño by Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese who discovered the Philippines.
It is considered as one of the most popular Philippine festivals probably because of the belief that the Sto. Nino or Child Jesus, like any innocent child will be able to grant the most fervent wish.