Pope Francis calls for ‘process of conversion’ in the Church to prevent all forms of abuse

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Pope Francis prays with journalists on the papal flight en route to South Korea on Aug. 14, 2014. / Alan Holdren/CNA.

Vatican City, Nov 4, 2021 / 06:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Thursday that the Church is called to engage in a process of conversion and renewed formation to work to eradicate the “culture of death” and every form of abuse.

In a message to a conference on promoting child safeguarding, the pope urged the people of God to continue in “the journey of personal and community conversion.”

“It is a journey that we are called to undertake together as a Church, urged on by the pain and shame of not having always been good guardians, protecting the minors entrusted to us in our educational and social activities,” the pope said in the message published on Nov. 4.

He said that this process of conversion “urgently requires a renewed formation” for all who work in environments with minors in the Church, society, and the family.

“Only in this way, with a systematic action of preventive alliance, will it be possible to eradicate the culture of death that is the source of every form of abuse,” Pope Francis said.

The pope said that “the culture of death” leads to sexual abuse, the abuse of conscience, and the abuse of power.

Pope John Paul II popularized the phrase the “culture of death” in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae, describing it as “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

Pope Francis said that the entire community has a responsibility to safeguard minors and highlighted the contributions that younger generations can make in this renewal.

“It is especially they who ask us for a decisive step of renewal in the face of the wounds of the abuse found in their peers,” he said.

The pope’s message, signed on Oct. 21, was read aloud at the opening of the conference in Rome organized by the Safe Project — an initiative co-financed by the European Union and led by the Pope John XXIII Community in partnership with Catholic Action, the Italian Sports Center, and the University of Bologna.

“As lay associations, I urge you to persevere in this action of formation to co-responsibility, dialogue, and transparency,” Pope Francis said.

“May the protection of minors be more and more concretely an ordinary priority in the educational action of the Church; may it be the promotion of an open, reliable, and authoritative service, in firm contrast to every form of domination, violation of intimacy and complicit silence.”

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  1. [The pope] has said, “It is a journey that we are called to undertake together as a Church, urged on by the pain and shame of not having always been good guardians,”

    Jesus told us to pick up our cross and follow him. He directed his disciples to travel in pairs of two. Where did Jesus claim the Church should carry shame of not having been a good guardian? THE CHURCH needs no apology tour, but Church authorities need to apologize for themselves.

    The Pope speaks for himself and does not speak as Jesus taught. Jesus NEVER apologized for himself or His truth. Those in the Church who have not been good guardians should have been and should be excluded from her membership. Those in authority should do that. That is how Jesus told his disciples to handle those who would not listen to the Church.

    “…the pope urged the people of God to continue in “the journey of personal and community conversion.”

    ‘Community’ conversion? Exactly where is this in Scripture or in Church teaching? I think Francis has a good imagination.

    [The pope also added]…this process of conversion “urgently requires a renewed formation”

    What exactly is the ‘formation’ Francis recommends? A search party consisting of more lost souls? Walking together the world’s common path without purpose to see what can be seen? What about what Jesus taught about conforming lives through His grace, through the sacraments which He gave to the Church and which worked well for the past 1990 years?

    Refusing the path to Calvary, refusing the cross of Christ, the Church today seems hell-bent to sanctify the path of the world by seeking a new Church. Why? The hierarchy refuses to accept the sanctify of the given old One.

  2. A very important insight…”The pope said that ‘the culture of death’ leads to sexual abuse, the abuse of conscience, and the abuse of power.”

    Exactly so! At the heart (literally) of the “culture of death” is the abortion culture which then enables all of the abuse-of-power and big-picture crises that Pope Francis spotlights during his pontificate, even as he alternately seems to discount the moral clarity of “Veritatis Splendor”…

    Namely: that with the “‘negative precepts’ […] it is prohibited–to everyone and in every case–to violate these precepts. They oblige everyone, regardless of cost, never to offend in anyone, beginning with oneself, the personal dignity common to all.” And, “the commandment of love of God and neighbor does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken” (Veritatis Splendor, VS, n. 52). And, “the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete [!] actions of kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil [!], do not allow for any legitimate exceptions. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the ‘creativity’ of any contrary [!] determination whatsoever” (VS, n. 67).

    What, then, of the unanswered dubia? A teachable moment lost?
    What, then, of personal conversion (not quite reducible to a “process of conversion” for the overall Church, or to the community’s “co-responsibility, dialogue, and transparency”)? A teachable moment lost?
    What, then, likewise, of the duplicitous and notorious Pelosi-Biden tribe? A teachable moment lost?
    What, then, of Eucharistic coherence? A teachable moment lost?
    What, then, of a “listening,” but also a block-party abuse of vertebrate synodality, as cultured in Petri-dish Germania? A teachable moment infiltrated, accommodated, and betrayed? With more to follow?

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