Resurrection today and a chance to live again

by Fr. Shay Cullen

| Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

Hundreds of children once dead in spirit are now alive, happy, and vibrant. Easter is the time to celebrate life and success and, above all, the happy lives of hundreds of children who were once dead in themselves and to the world but have found a new lease on life. They suffered physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. They existed but were not living, dead in spirit, saved, rescued, cared for, and healed, and they came back to life. A resurrection from death in the spirit to a new life.

In one family alone, four children, renamed the “Happy Four,” were saved and healed at the Preda home. They received new names, Kardi, 10, an adopted girl, three boys Juan 8, Roberto 6, and the eldest, Jun 14, all victims of online sexual abuse.

They survived years of abuse without hope that it would ever end because their parents, relatives, and guardians were their abusers. They had an online sex abuse business. They horrifically sexually exploited the four children one by one, again and again, for different customers through live streaming over encrypted mobile phones to foreign pedophiles. They earned vast sums of money.

These were child victims without hope and dignity and survived in shame. International police in Switzerland intercepted one of the transmitted sex shows sent by live-streaming of the abuse over the Philippine internet service providers to foreign pedophiles. They contacted the Philippine police. The children were rescued from years of misery and were referred to the Preda Foundation home for abused and trafficked children. They are now healed, happy, vibrant children full of life. They play, sing, dance, and happily go to school and study their lessons.

They had had their resurrection, a new life of freedom from abuse, when they moved from suffering and sadness to freedom and happiness at the Preda children’s home. Here, they are protected, cared for, and loved, with 68 other children healing and fully recovering. They have had a new life experience coming from darkness to light. They expressed all their suffering and sorrow through Emotional Release Therapy. They cried out their pain, and they healed. They were empowered and became strong, so they have the courage and confidence and are ready to testify and win justice in a court of law.

Every year, an average of twenty Preda children win convictions of abusers. They are then free of that abuser for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of child victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse have had their spiritual resurrection, having been rescued and given new life at the Preda Foundation through the genuinely dedicated staff. This was God’s love working through the committed service of the Preda healers of children: leaders, social workers, facilitators, teachers, therapists, and spiritual guides and supporters.

The Preda team of dedicated professional staff has brought new life to thousands of children, helping them heal and overcome adversity. Together, led by its president, Francis Bermido Jr., they are advocating and proposing a new law to establish a special court for abused children with trained judges that will deliver freedom, justice, and closure for child victims. They are asking for public support for this initiative.

“All of us need to know and experience an awakening, a spiritual resurrection to the truth about the widespread sexual abuse crimes against children that are untreated and left without help or therapy. The UNICEF reports that seven million Filipino children are abused every year and get no help.”

The law will mandate unhampered speedy trials through continuous hearings, as recommended by the Supreme Court at present, each to be completed in two to three months. Strict rules for prosecutors, police, and judges will ensure that it is implemented to deliver justice. The new law will mandate the establishment of many more therapeutic homes with trained staff, including therapists and paralegal officers. The homes will be continually supported and funded by local governments.

All of us need to know and experience an awakening, a spiritual resurrection to the truth about the widespread sexual abuse crimes against children that are untreated and left without help or therapy. The UNICEF reports that seven million Filipino children are abused every year and get no help. One child in every three are victims of sexual abuse. Many people are aware of child abuse, and many suffer in silence. They should help other victims and become advocates of child rights. That will be healing for them, too.

The clergy is wrong for defending the abuser and silencing the victim. That abuser will abuse many more children in his lifetime, for sure. They ignore the words of Jesus, who said about child abusers that a large millstone should be tied around their necks, and they are thrown into the deep sea (Matthew 18:1-7). They who deny, cover up child abuse, and leave abusers to continue in a diocese (there are several in the Philippines) violate the law of God and man. A single act of sexual intercourse against a child under 16 is statutory rape.

Bishops have misplaced fear of the imagined shame and disgrace clerical child abuse brings on them, on the priesthood, on their dioceses, and the church and the loss of donations. It is kept secret, and the priest is sent to hide in another parish or abroad. That is misplaced. They ought to be ashamed that they covered up for an abuser and failed to protect the child victims. They must have faithful Faith and believe that acting justly will undo evil. That protecting children and bringing the cleric to justice is praiseworthy and to their everlasting merit. They will be admired for following the instructions of good Pope Francis that there must be zero tolerance for clerical child abuse in the church.

Doing good, speaking the truth, and seeking justice for the victims is having Faith, as Jesus of Nazareth said and did. When the disciples failed to help the children get a blessing, Jesus was angry at them. “Allow the children to come to me and don’t stop them. The Kingdom of heaven is for the likes of these children” (Mark 10:13 -16). The rights and dignity of children are Jesus’ top priority. “When you accept one child, you accept me.” (Matthew18:1-6) Child abuse is a grievous sin that even Jesus said is hard to forgive. There must be accountability, penance, and punishment, he said.

So many adults have been sexually abused as children by family members, and they cannot emotionally face that painful historical truth. They must get help from other child victims. Municipal social workers and NGOs like Preda Foundation are there to help. To report abuse, people can message the Preda Foundation Facebook page in total confidentiality. There is no greater good one can do than to help a child. Help one today and every day. Call or text Preda at +63 917 532 4453 and save a child.

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