Church apologizes for guidelines: “Don´t sleep with children or touch them”

SANTIAGO – As if the accusations for covering-up sexual abuse aren´t enough already for the Catholic Church and especially the archbishopric led by Ricardo Ezzati, the Church had to apologize for a controversial document that appeared last week. In the document, priests are given guidelines on how to behave themselves in the presence of children. Among these recommendations: “Don´t slap them on the buttocks, don´t touch their genitals”.

On Friday night the Archbishopric of Santiago apologized for a controversial document, that was released earlier that week. The document was meant to give priests guidelines on how to behave themselves in their parish, to avoid improper behavior. Where some recommendations are to be considered as normal, every-day standards, phrases such as “avoid slapping the buttocks, touching the genital area or chest”, and “don´t lie down or sleep with children or adolescents ” have caused controversy, as people wonder if priests in the Chilean Catholic Church are so far from modern day society that such guidelines are really necessary.

Through a statement, signed by archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, the Catholic Church apologized, stating that “Certain contents were translated literally and are not adequate, or those that lend themselves to incorrect interpretations will be corrected, we apologize, and we will publish a new version in the shortest time. ”

The document: “No kissing on the lips”

Among other things, the document, meant for priests all over Chile, suggests that “you should not be alone with a child, adolescent or vulnerable person in a residence, bedrooms, toilets, showers, dressing room or any other closed room”.

In another chapter of the criticized text, with the title “Samples of Affection”, recommendations are given to avoid “inappropriate forms of expressing affection”, among which “slapping on the buttocks, touching the genitals or chest, resting or sleeping with children or adolescents and kissing children, adolescents or vulnerable people on their mouths“.

A chapter called “Behaviors that can be misinterpreted and that, therefore, we must avoid” states that “privacy should not be violated: watching or taking pictures while children, adolescents or people vulnerable are naked, dress or shower, in addition to using inappropriate and foul language, should be avoided. ”

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