Timothy Omotoso. File photo: Raahil Sain / ANA
The head of the Johannesburg Catholic Church has called on the clergy to use the national day of prayer to reflect on sexual abuse within its ranks.

Speaking at the launch of the second annual Motsepe Foundation national day of prayer, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale said as the moral authority, the clergy was expected to reflect on their faults as well.

Tlhagale said: “Pastor Omotoso represents in many ways all of us gathered here. He represents us because we stand out there and claim to speak on behalf of God; to speak on behalf of Jesus Christ; to be the other Christ. It is this distortion, this disgrace, this shame, this dark aspect of our individual lives which militate against the spread of the gospel.”

Timothy Omotoso, 58, is a Nigerian televangelist who faces a string of charges including rape, and the alleged trafficking of more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his Jesus Dominion International Church to a house in uMhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.

His accomplices Lusanda Solani, 36 of Durban, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, of Port Elizabeth, allegedly recruited girls all over the country and monitored their movements in the houses where they were kept.

Tlhagale said: “I wish that on the day of national prayer we highlight this tragic weakness in our private lives, in our public lives because we are public servants and pray hard that our lives - the lives of men in our society - begin to change so that we can acknowledge the dignity of children, the dignity of girls, the dignity of women in our midst.”

This is not the first time Tlhagale has called out sexual abuse within the church. Last month, he said priests who abuse children should be ex-communicated.

The service will be held at FNB Stadium on November 25. About 33 religious groups will take part in the event that will be broadcast live on TV.