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Sr. Veronica Openibo’s Riot Act to Catholic Bishops Reflects the Audacity of African Women.

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Sr. Veronica Openibo, an Elected Leader of The Society of the Holy Child Jesus recently spoke to Catholic Summit of Bishops and Church Leaders on “The Protection of Minors in the Church”  on February 23, 2019.

The Nigerian titled her speech “Openness to the World as a Consequence of the Ecclesial Mission,” was widely talked about. CNN International described the speech as a riot act hence the title of this article.

With widespread news of decades long child abuse in the catholic church, the church can no longer turn a blind eye to the news.

Sr. Openibo said The church must do everything possible to protect its young and vulnerable members. The focus should not to be on fear or disgrace but rather on the church’s mission to serve with integrity and justice.

Yes, we proclaim the Ten Commandments and ‘parade ourselves’ as being the custodians of moral standards/values and good behaviour in society. Hypocrites at times?  Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long? How can we turn this around for a time to evangelise, catechise and educate all the members of the church, including the clergy and religious? I often ask myself: Is it true that most bishops did nothing about the sexual abuse of children? I want to believe, and from that, I have read, some did act and some did not out of fear or cover-up.

Source: Zenit

She was thorough in her speech, she prescribed solutions, examined the current situation and she was straight forward without cutting corners. The moment she said “Women have acquired a lot of useful experience to offer in this field and have already done much to support victims – there are women who are also offenders – and also to work creatively on their own use of power and authority. “

As African women, we often forget the power of audacity. When we speak up rather than lay back, we can effect true change in our communities. Our audacity is nurtured by strength that allows us to live and survive in an environment and culture that is designed to repress you.

Take a cure from Sr. Veronica Openibo, speak up, talk, say something about the crimes beguiling your community. When you find opportunities for discourse, be prepared and converse.

Domestic violence, poverty, illiteracy, poor healthcare, unemployment these are issues we ought to have conversations about. These are issues we as women needs to highlight and talk about.

When we speak up, the problem is half solved. Use your social media handles, talk to your community leaders, put heads together.

Don’t ask when will the government do this, ask how can we improve our society as individuals and how do we get authorities to do something about it.

How can I make a difference. Always speak up.

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