Pope calls entire Church to pray and fast after clerical sex abuse revelations

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2018 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis called Monday for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.

“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God,” Francis wrote Aug. 20.

In a letter to the entire Church following widespread revelations of clerical sex abuse in the Church in the United States, the pope invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.”

“This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he said. “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”

In the letter, Francis acknowledged the recent publication of a report detailing abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, which included more than 300 priests and 1,000 victims, over a period of around 70 years.

Recognizing the deep pain and suffering endured by many minors who have experienced sexual abuse, or the abuse of power or conscience, at the hands of clerics, he said no effort to seek pardon or to repair the harm will ever be enough.

“Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,” he stated.

He said the words of St. Paul, that “‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’… forcefully echo” in his heart.

The pope also emphasized that he thinks a conversion of the Church is “impossible” if it does not include the “active participation” of all the members of the Church, and he criticized the silencing or ignoring of some Catholics through the creation of elitist groups or projects.

In particular, all forms of clericalism should be rejected, he said, because clericalism undervalues baptismal grace and can lead to abuses by Church authority. Clericalism causes “an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”

Voicing strong support for all the victims of clerical sex abuse and for their families, he said though most of the cases recently come to light, “belong to the past,” as time goes on the pain of the victims has come to be more known.

He said the gravity and extent to which clerical sexual abuse of minors and other abuse has happened takes “coming to grips… in a comprehensive and communal way,” and while conversion requires acknowledgment of the truth, it is “not enough.”

“This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does… to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help,” he stated.

The penitential aspect of fasting will help Catholics to come before the Lord “as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion,” so that actions “attuned to the Gospel” can follow, he explained.

He prayed that fasting and prayer will open people’s ears to the pain of children, young people, and the disabled, that it will make Catholics “hunger and thirst for justice,” and impel the Church “to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.”

“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” he continued.

“Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said. “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

11 Comments

  1. I get the feeling he is avoiding his responsibility of cleaning house of gay clergy by making everyone guilty if they don’t pray and fast. His power is “ supreme” and “ immediate” “over all the churches” according to canon law I got that vibe too when he earlier sought decentralization of power down to Bishops away from Rome as in Malta running it’s own take on divorced remarrieds receiving Communion. Nineveh all prayed and fasted because all Ninevites were doing sins. This is different. Do any of us fast and pray for the thugs in our city. No. Spreading guilt to the innocent is the tendency of a man who is not going to clean house. Wait for it…

  2. Pope “Who-Am-I-To-Judge?” Bergoglio can lead the way by acknowledging his disgraceful and scandalous leadership, taking personal responsibility, and resigning.

  3. No. I’m sorry, but this is lame. I didn’t do this. The vast majority of the Church had nothing to do with the crimes perpetrated by some evil priests and bishops and covered by weak, misguided, or evil Bishops and Cardinals. So most of us have nothig to repent. We should pray for the victims and their families, for those who have left the faith in disgust, and for the good priests and bishops who persevere in the faith. We face what can only be described as a demonic homosexual subculture within the priesthood whose evil acts cry out to heaven for vengeance. They have scattered the flock and led many into sin. So we should also pray for God’s justice and that He have mercy on their souls.

  4. With all due respect, His Holiness, Pope Francis should address the Clergy for several reasons:

    1. It is the Clergy who are of Holy Orders, a Sacrament of our Lord Jesus
    2. It is elements of the Clergy who perpetrated Sacrilege against the Sacrament of Holy Orders and against the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and against each and every victim, Child, Lay, and Cleric, and against Holy Mother Church
    3. It is elements of the Episcopacy who perpetrated or aided or abetted the Sacrilege against the Sacrament of Holy Orders and against the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    4. It is elements of the Clergy who have, over decades, greatly succeeded in normalizing the very unholy acceptance of same-sex-attracted into Holy Orders which enabled the abominable infestation of disorder which the Church has taught against being allowed into Holy Orders; it is they, this element of the Clergy who have twisted God’s Word to their and the misled Laity to their destruction.

    First the Clergy – they are not the Laity – then the Laity – we are not the Clergy. They lead, we follow.

    Pax Christi in Regno Christi

  5. Just words. Never know who even writes them for sure. Action is needed. Confession of the evil is needed. The Rite of Degradation of some bishops and cardinals is needed. The resignation of the guilty is needed. The resignation of sodomites is needed. It is not just about the altar boys but also the teens, young men, other men, rented men, etc. The heresy is there too. And so are the demons.

  6. Instead of properly addressing the problem at the clergy, the Pope deviously and distractively calls “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting”. Moreover, does he now suddenly expect us to believe that he really wants these filthy predators and their protectors he normally promotes to high positions to change their hearts and become the kind of decent faithful Catholics he so despises as “Pharisees”, “rigid”, “rule keepers”, &c, &c? Completely incredible.

  7. What I can see is prayer and fasting in reparation to the Sacred Heart for the acts of horrible blasphemy done against Him.

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