Vatican City, Feb 15, 2017 / 08:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met for the 18th time this week to continue discussion on reforming the Roman Curia, focusing on how new bishops are chosen and the streamlining of severa… […]
Vatican City, Feb 15, 2017 / 04:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As children we are taught that bragging is bad, especially when we do it to people who have less than us, however, for Pope Francis, there is one thing we should never hesitate to flaunt to whoever we meet: our hope in Christ.
Speaking of bragging, the Pope said Feb. 15 that contrary to the typical effect boasting has, “the hope that we have been given (in Christ) does not separate us from others,” and nor does it lead us “to discredit or marginalize them.”
“Instead, it is an extraordinary gift for which we are called to become ‘channels,’ with humility and simplicity, for all.”
Continuing his catechesis on the theme of hope, Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims during the general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall, reflecting on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans in which the saint speaks of boasting “in hope of the glory of God.”
“So our greatest pride is to have as a Father a God who has no favorites, who does not exclude anyone, but who opens his home to all human beings, beginning with the last and the distant, because as his children we learn to console and support each other,” he said.
In the passage from Romans, St. Paul tells us to boast about the abundance of grace we receive from Christ Jesus, Francis observed. “Paul wants us to understand that if we learn to read everything by the light of the Holy Spirit, we realize that all is grace! Everything is a gift!”
If we learn to pay attention to everything, both in history and in our own lives, we begin to notice how God is “above everything,” and how we can see his hand in everything, he said.
The Pope said we are all called to recognize this point, to accept it with gratitude and to turn it back to God “in praise, blessing and great joy.” This, he said, is what will help us to experience true peace and freedom.
“And then this peace extends to all areas and to all the relationships in our lives: we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace in the family, in our community, at work and with the people we meet every day on our way,” he said.
St. Paul also encourages us to boast of our sufferings, he said, noting that this can at times seem to be at odds with the peace found in recognizing our blessings and the grace present in our lives.
However, boasting of our sufferings is what makes our praise “the most authentic, the most true,” he said.
“In fact,” the Pope added, the peace the Lord offers us “should not be understood as the absence of worries, disappointments, failures and the causes of suffering.”
If this were true, then our peace would be very short-lived, he said, adding that “the peace that comes from faith is instead a gift…it is the grace to experience that God loves us” and there is always a guarantee that “he does not leave us alone even for a moment of our lives.”
It is the knowledge of the security of God’s love for us that helps us to bear suffering patiently, even in the most difficult moments, because “the mercy and goodness of the Lord are the greatest of all things and nothing will tear us from his hands.”
Our boast is that “God loves me,” Pope Francis said, and had pilgrims repeat with him the prayer “God loves me. God loves me.”
“That’s why Christian hope is solid, why it does not disappoint,” he concluded. It isn’t based on what we do or on what we believe, but on “the love that God has for each of us.”
With this in mind, “now we understand why the Apostle Paul exhorts us to always boast about all this.”
Washington D.C., Feb 15, 2017 / 03:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A repeal of Washington, D.C.’s physician-assisted suicide law moved through the U.S. House on Monday, but is in a race against time to pass through Congress and be signed by President Trump by Friday.
Members of Congress “have the Constitutional responsibility to do this,” Gloria Purvis, host of the show “Morning Glory” on EWTN Global Catholic Radio, told CNA of the move to repeal D.C.’s “Death With Dignity Act.”
The city council did not “even seek the voice of their own people” through putting the issue to a referendum even though community leaders, disability rights groups and many African-American senior citizens opposed it, Purvis, who has also served on the National Black Catholic Congress’ Leadership Commission on Social Justice, noted.
The House Oversight Committee voted 22-14 on Monday to send a measure disapproving of Washington, D.C.’s assisted suicide law to the House floor for a vote, Jason Calvi of EWTN News Nightly reported.
Back in December, the D.C. city council had passed the Death With Dignity Act, joining five states that have statutes legalizing physician-assisted suicide and Montana, where it is currently legal due to a 2009 decision by the state’s supreme court.
Congress, however, has 30 legislative days to overturn laws passed by Washington, D.C. That time period will expire after Friday. A repeal measure must pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law by the President.
The act could be effectively nullified by the House refusing to fund the D.C. health department in its appropriations bill, Purvis said. Attorney General Jeff Sessions could also take action against the law, saying it conflicts with the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act from 1997 which prohibits federal funding of the practice.
Nevertheless, the act “devalues life,” is “morally repugnant,” and is “not in the interest of the common good,” Purvis insisted. In the situations of terminal patients who are suffering, “the answer is to care for them,” she said, rather than serve “the radical ‘I’” mentality of a culture of autonomy.
Disability rights advocates are also pushing Congress to repeal the law, calling it “dangerous and harmful public policy.” At the same time they are urging Congress to leave in place the Affordable Care Act, saying that “any degradation in health care will drive increased demand for assisted suicide.”
Physician-assisted suicide enables serious ethical abuses to occur when someone has a terminal illness, the disability rights argued. The coalition includes the American Association of People With Disabilities, the Disability Rights Center, the National Council on Independent Living, and the group “Not Dead Yet.”
“Assisted suicide is a prescription for abuse: an heir or abusive caregiver can steer someone towards assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and in the end, even administer the drug – no witnesses are required at the death, so who would know? Many other pressures exist that can cause people with compromised health to hasten their death,” they stated.
The language of the bill could enable abuses like this, Purvis insisted, as it allows patients to “ingest” a lethal dose of drugs. A dose that is administered by a third party to an unconscious patient could technically be “ingested” by the patient and thus legal, she explained.
Patients with a terminal diagnosis can also suffer from treatable depression, a mental disorder that can affect their judgment to request a lethal prescription and which can be manipulated by others, the coalition added.
“When assisted suicide is legal, it’s the cheapest treatment available – an attractive option in our profit-driven healthcare system,” they argued.
Civic efforts to fight teen suicide are also undermined by the message of this bill, Purvis said, as it implies that some lives are not worth living.
Such legislation purports to bring greater empowerment and freedom to sick patients, but it’s an ethical “slippery slope,” Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University argued in a recent opinion piece in the New York Daily News.
Although supporters will argue that assisted suicide helps terminal patients avoid intense suffering and pain, patients will “far more likely” choose it out of “not wanting to be a burden on others,” he wrote.
“On other issues, liberals rightly focus on how laws affect vulnerable populations,” he said, explaining that “liberals in Massachusetts” defeated the issue at the ballot box because they were “worried that older people, already thought to be a drain or burden in a culture which worships youth and capital production, might be pressured to consider assisted suicide.”
“Those of us with progressive philosophies must instead unequivocally affirm the goodness of the existence of the old and sick. Especially when our consumerist culture tells them they have no net value,” he said.
Vatican City, Feb 15, 2017 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hopes are on the rise for an agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops, with Cardinal John Tong Hon, Archbishop of Hong Kong again making the case for a possible proposal.
He made his case in a Feb. 11 article for the Hong Kong’s Sunday Examiner newspaper, and follows up on his previous article from August 2016. His latest article is filled with a certain optimism.
Cardinal Tong wrote that a Vatican-China agreement on appointing bishops will be “the crux of the problem and a milestone in the process of normalizing the relationship between the two parties,” but it is “by no means the end of the issue.” It would be “unrealistic, if not impossible” to expect disagreements to be cleared up overnight.
To summarize, Cardinal Tong maintained that Chinese government will finally recognize the Pope as the supreme authority of the Church, and the Pope will be given the power to veto any candidate to the episcopacy he does not deem fit for the post. The cardinal also explained that the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, that is the state-controlled church, will turn into a voluntary body with which bishops can freely affiliate. He voiced optimism for the eventual reconciliation of the seven illicit bishops appointed without the Pope’s consent. The cardinal also hoped for the future recognition of the bishops of the “underground Church.”
Despite the general optimism seen in Cardinal Tong’s words, the final agreement is yet to come, a source with knowledge of the Vatican-China talks told CNA under condition of anonymity.
The source explained the agreement this way: “The Chinese government wants to keep control of the appointment of bishops, and Rome cannot diminish the supreme authority of the pontiff. So, we meet in the middle.”
One possible plan for agreement is that “the Holy See may accept the election of candidate for the episcopate, though it knows that these elections take place under state control and that bishops of China’s bishops’ conference all belong to the government-controlled patriotic association.”
On the other hand, the source added, the Chinese government would “accept that any ‘election’ needs to be approved by the Pope, even though no elections should take place to appoint a bishop.”
The source compared this situation of mutual agreement to a famous image of three monkeys: “I don’t see, I don’t hear, I don’t speak.” He added that “although the Holy See is conscious that elections are not free, they are fake,” Vatican negotiators prefer to “silently accept this, in order to have bishops faithful to Rome and in communion with the Pope since the beginning.”
Cardinal Tong, in his latest article, noted that Catholic doctrine places the Pope as “the last and highest authority in appointing bishops.” This means that “if the Pope has the final word about the worthiness and suitability of an episcopal candidate, the elections of local churches and the recommendations of the bishops’ conference of the Catholic Church in China will simply be a way to express recommendations.”
Cardinal Tong thus aimed to respond to the concerns of Cardinal Joseph Zen, his predecessor as Archbishop of Hong Kong. In speeches, letters and articles, Cardinal Zen took a strong position against the agreement, saying that it undermined the authority of the Holy See. Cardinal Zen asked the Holy See not to make any agreement before China guarantees full religious freedom.
According to Cardinal Tong, there are three issues at stake: how to tackle the issue of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association; how to deal with the seven illicitly ordained bishops, who are excommunicated latae sententiae for having violated canon law; and how to handle the issue of more than 30 bishops from the underground Church, whom the Chinese government does not recognize.
The cardinal said a relationship between the patriotic association’s concept of an “independent, autonomous and self-run Church” and the self-nominating and self-ordination of bishops is “a relationship between theory and practice.” Both practices “are in fact the product of a distinctive political environment and pressure.”
The Archbishop of Hong Kong said that under the possible agreement the Pope will “now play a role in the nomination and ordination of Chinese bishops” and that “Beijing will also recognize the Pope’s right of veto and that the Pope is the highest and final authority in deciding on candidates for bishop in China.”
According to Cardinal Tong, this way the Vatican-China agreement would turn the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association into “a patriotic association in its strict, literal sense,” that is: “a voluntary, non-profit, patriotic and Church-loving organization composed of clergy and faithful from all around the country.”
The situation is far more complex than this, since de facto every “official” bishop recognized by Beijing is required to be a member of the patriotic association. Critics of the possible agreement noted the case of Shanghai auxiliary Bishop Taddeus Ma Daqin, who dared to resign from the association at his ordination Mass in 2012 and was immediately placed under house arrest. Though he appeared to renounce his stand against the Catholic Patriotic Association in mid-2016, he is still living in isolation in Shanghai’s Sheshan seminary, with no episcopal dignity.
In addition to this situation, UCA News has reported that China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs on Jan. 26 posted a decision to “enhance government legal powers over religious work” through an amended regulation in order to “maintain accountability via the strict management of Communist Party members.”
The Chinese administration also stressed that the Chinese administration said it would “steadily push forward” to the Catholic Church “to elect and ordain bishops on its own.” This is a positive sign for Sino-Vatican relations, observers said.
If the problem of the appointment of bishops would finally find a solution, a solution would still be needed for the seven bishops who were illicitly ordained and thus de facto excommunicated.
Beyond the illicit ordination, some of these bishops are also accused of moral misconduct that needs to be assessed.
The difficulty, as Cardinal Tong says, is that given the unstable relationship between China and the Holy See, the Holy See cannot investigate directly. Thus the Chinese official institutions would need to investigate, a process that would take time.
The Pope is the only one who can lift such an excommunication. Participants in the illicit consecration can secure a papal pardon but they “need to show repentance,” the cardinal said. He added that all of the bishops illicitly ordained are willing to pay their obedience to the Pope.
According to CNA’s Vatican source, the Holy See is looking for a “midway point” for the election of bishops and an agreement between “the practice of choosing candidates by a diocesan patriotic commission” and finding candidates that “can be also appreciated and accepted by the underground community.”
The source also added that “it is undeniable that the agreement does not fulfill all the requirements, we are not satisfied with that.”
“Anytime there is an agreement, it means that you lose some freedom. That is a problem for us. But we do understand that at the moment we cannot do anything better,” the source said.
The agreement could be a solution that would allow the appointment of bishops in still-vacant dioceses. The Chinese administration abolished some dioceses, and the Holy See could dissolve some dioceses too to address the current situation.
“Once, some dioceses were entrusted to missionary congregations, and nowadays these congregations are no more, and there are no more foreign missionaries in continental China,” the source said.
The possibility of a “Vietnam solution” for the appointment of bishops was even put on the table.
The agreement will likely be based on Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s model implemented in Vietnam back in 1996: the Holy See proposes a set of three bishops to the Hanoi government, and Hanoi makes its choice.
However, CNA’s source maintained, “China always dismissed a Vietnam solution.” For him, the situation in Vietnam is “completely different.”
Despite the initial difficulties like Hanoi’s delayed responses that left dioceses vacant for a long period, the Vietnam situation has worked out decently and there is a relationship of significant trust between the parties.
The Holy See has appointed a non-resident envoy to Hanoi, a first step toward the possible establishment of diplomatic ties.
The Chinese situation is even more complex, and also implies the necessity that the Chinese administration will recognize the 30 underground bishops.
According to Cardinal Tong, this problem is “not deadlocked.” In his view, the underground Church results from a special political and historic period when “there was no mutual trust between the Holy See and Beijing, and this indirectly led to a lack of trust between the government and the unofficial community bishops.”
However, the cardinal notes, “should there be an agreement between the Holy See and China that will imply considerable mutual trust between the parties. The bishops of the unofficial community would no longer be regarded as the opposition for insisting on religious principles.”
This means the government’s view of them would improve.
Cardinal Tong also underscored several times that the underground bishops in China are in fact “examples of patriotic citizens.”
He said the government attitude towards these unofficial communities has “changed a lot in recent years.” As mutual trust develops between Rome and Beijing, so too will stability and strength.
The talks for an agreement do not include the establishment of diplomatic ties. That will come later, according to CNA’s source knowledgeable of the Sino-Vatican dialogue.
At the moment, the Holy See’s nunciature to China is established in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. The country is seen by the People’s Republic of China as no more than a rebel province.
The Holy See relationship with Taiwan is one of the biggest hurdles to the establishment of any diplomatic tie with China.
In recent decades, the nunciature has no longer been headed by a nuncio, but by a lower ranked diplomat, a chargé d’affairs. Msgr. Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, the most recent chargé d’affairs, was appointed apostolic nuncio to Turkey in March 2016, thus leaving a vacancy in the post.
It was thought that the vacancy was intended to ease relations between the Holy See and mainland China. The post in fact did not stay vacant. The new chargé d’affairs is Msgr. Sladan Cosic. The nomination was not publicly announced, and this has also a meaning.
According to CNA’s Vatican source, the Holy See would be ready to drop its diplomatic presence in Taiwan, but this would not harm relations there. The Holy See could even strengthen its presence on the Taiwanese territory, with a more specific focus on pastoral concerns.
Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the Vatican office charged with interpreting Church law has said that divorced-and-remarried persons who want to change their situation but cannot, may be admitted to Communion without living in continence.
“The Church could admit to Penance and to the Eucharist faithful who find themselves in an illegitimate union when two essential conditions occur: they want to change the situation, but they are unable to fulfill their desire,” Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, 78, wrote in his booklet Chapter Eight of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhoration Amoris laetitia, published last week.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. His booklet, published by the Vatican Publishing House and presented Feb. 14 at a Vatican press confence, offers his own interpretation of Amoris laetitia. He said it is aimed at “grasping the rich doctrinal and pastoral message” of Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation.
Part of the reason for writing it, he said, is because the exhortation’s eighth chapter has “been judged with either negativity or with a certain reservation.”
In the text, Cardinal Coccopalmerio extensively quotes Amoris laetitia, saying Chapter 8 illustrates both the clear doctrine of the Church on marriage, as well as the conditions in which, due to “serious” repercussions, couples living in irregular unions might be able to receive Communion.
He reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, and stressed that the Church must in no way “renounce to proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its greatness.”
“Any form of relativism, or an excessive respect in the moment of proposing it, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also a lack of love of the Church,” he said.
However, he noted that, as said in Amoris laetitia, there are many complex factors contributing to why marriages fail and irregular unions are so common, such as abandonment by a spouse, cultural stigmas, or other “mitigating factors.”
The cardinal pointed to paragraph 301 of Amoris laetitia, which reads: “it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”
By referring to “any irregular situation,” the exhortation, in his opinion, “intends to refer to all those who are married only civilly or only living in a de facto union or are bound by a previous canonical marriage,” the cardinal said.
Further quoting that paragraph, the cardinal said, “a subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values,’ or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin … factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision.”
Offering an example of a situation in which a person might be fully aware of the irregularity of their situation yet faces great difficulty in changing it for fear of falling into greater sin, Cardinal Coccopalmerio pointed to couples in a new union who can’t separate due to “serious reasons” such as the education of their children.
He also used the example of a woman cohabiting with a man and his three children, after they had been abandoned by his first wife.
In the book, the cardinal said the woman had saved the man “from a state of deep despair, probably from the temptation of suicide.” The couple had been together for 10 years, adding another child to the mix, with the woman making considerable sacrifices to help raise the other three.
While the woman in the hypothetical situation “is fully aware of being in an irregular situation” and would “honestly like to change her life, but evidently, she can’t,” the cardinal said, explaining that if she left, “the man would turn back to the previous situation and the children would be left without a mother.”
To leave, then, would mean the woman would fail to carry out her duties toward innocent people, namely, the children. Because of this, Cardinal Coccopalmerio said, “it’s then evident that she couldn’t leave without new sin” occurring.
Speaking on the point of continence, the cardinal pointed to St. John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio.
In the document, St. John Paul II taught that the divorced-and-remarried who for serious reasons cannot satisfy the obligation to separate may receive absolution which would open the way to Communion only if they take on the duty to live in complete continence – to live as brother and sister.
However, for Cardinal Coccopalmerio, while the couples who are able to do this should, for others the temptation of infidelity increases the longer a couple refrains from sexual intimacy, potentially causing greater harm to the children.
He referred to footnote 329 of Amoris laetitia. The footnote is a reference to the quoting of St. John Paul II’s words in Familiaris consortio acknowledging that some of the divorced-and-remarried cannot, for serious reasons, separate. The footnote applies the words of Gaudium et spes that “where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined” – in its context, speaking about married couples – to “the divorced who have entered a new union.”
Cardinal Coccopalmerio stressed that while for him the desire to change one’s situation despite the inability to do so is enough to receive Communion, the conditions must be “carefully and authoritatively discerned” on the part of ecclesial authority, which would typically be the couple’s parish priest, who knows the couple “more directly” and can therefore offer adequate guidance.
For the cardinal, the only instance in which a couple in an irregular situation could be barred from Communion is when, “knowing they are in grave sin and being able to change, they have no sincere desire” to do so.
He also suggested that a diocesan office charged with advising on difficult marital situations could be “necessary, or at least useful.”
Cardinal Coccopalmerio was absent from his book presentation, and it was presented instead by Orazio La Rocca; Fr. Maurizio Gronchi; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, SDB; and Alfonso Cuateruccio.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio is the latest prelate to speak out on the question of Amoris laetitia and admission to Communion for the divorced-and-remarried. The exhortation has been met with a varied reception and intepretation within the Church.
Yet many have maintained the Church’s traditional discipline, including recently Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur and Bishop Stephen Lopes of the Ordinariate of St. Peter.
And Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has on multiple occasions maintained that Amoris laetitia is in continuity with Church teaching.
In an interview with Il Timone earlier this month, he said that Amoris laetitia “must clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church.” He said that St. John Paul II’s teaching in Familiaris consortio “is not dispensable, because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.”
Confusion on this point, he said, stems from a failure to accept St. John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis splendor.
Cardinal Müller suggested that in order to quell the confusion generated by the differing interpretations of Amoris laetitia, everyone ought to study the Church’s doctrine, beginning with Scripture, “which is very clear on marriage.”
“All of us must understand and accept the doctrine of Christ and of his Church, and at the same time be ready to help others to understand it and put it into practice even in difficult situations,” he stated.
Observing the difference between the statements of Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Dr. Edward Peters, a professor of canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, wrote that “the Church’s arguably two highest-ranking cardinals in the areas of canonical interpretation and the protection of doctrine and morals are in public, plain, and diametric opposition with each other concerning a crucial canonico-sacramental practice. This division cannot stand.”
Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 11:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis said Tuesday that the Word of God isn’t something that can be explained to people as a mere recommendation, or merely a good idea, but that it requires courage, prayer and humil… […]
Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 02:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his preface for a book written by a survivor of clerical sex abuse, Pope Francis once again lamented the “monstrosity” of the act, calling the author, Daniel Pittet, courageous for his willingness to forgive his abuser and to share his story with the world.
“For those who have been victims of a pedophile it is difficult to talk about what they have been through and describe the trauma that still persist after many years,” the Pope said in the preface, published earlier this month.
Because of this, “Daniel Pittet’s testimony is necessary, treasured and courageous.”
In his 240-page book, titled “I Forgive You, Father: Surviving a Broken Childhood,” Pittet shares the story of his difficult childhood, during which he and his siblings were shuffled around different foster homes after their parents’ separation before eventually meeting the friar who would abuse him.
At the age of nine, Pittet was lured by a Capuchin friar into the convent attached to his parish, where he would from that day be raped on a weekly basis for four years, with those around him in denial.
Pittet’s book details not only the tragic suffering he endured, but also the long path he has taken to forgiveness, culminating in the civil and ecclesial recognition of his abusers’ crimes, and his own ability to move forward in building a family and a professional career.
Not only is the book unique for the author of its preface, but it ends with an interview conducted with the friar who abused Pittet, marking one of the rare occasions when a pedophile speaks publicly.
In his preface, Pope Francis thanked Pitett for sharing his story, “because testimony like his breaks down the wall of silence that covered scandals and suffering, shedding light on a terrible dark area in the life of the Church.”
These types of testimonies, he said, “open the way to a just mending and to the grace of reconciliation, helping pedophiles to become aware of the terrible consequences of their actions.”
Francis said he had originally met Pittet at the Vatican during the Year for Consecrated Life in 2015, and that the author had wanted to give heavy promotion to a book called “To Love is to Give Everything,” which was a collection of the testimonies of priests, religious and consecrated men and women.
At the time, “I could not have imagined that this enthusiastic and passionate Christian man had been the victim of abuse by a priest,” Francis said, adding that “yet this is what he told me, and his suffering struck me very much.”
In hearing Pittet’s story, the Pope said he saw once again both “the tremendous damage caused by sexual abuse” and the “long and painful journey that awaits the victims.”
“I am happy that others can read his testimony today and discover how far evil can enter the heart of a servant of the Church,” he said, asking how a priest committed to serving Christ and his Church can “cause so much harm.”
“How can someone who devoted their life to lead children to God, end up instead to devour them in what I called ‘a diabolical sacrifice’ that destroys both the victim and the life of the Church?”
Francis noted that some victims of abuse have committed suicide. “These deaths weigh on my heart, on my conscience and that of the whole Church,” he said, and, addressing their families, said “I offer my feelings of love and pain and humbly, I ask forgiveness.”
Clerical sex abuse “is an absolute monstrosity, a horrible sin, radically against everything that Christ has taught us,” the Pope said, and pointed to his June 4, 2016, motu proprio “Like a loving mother.”
In the document, in which the Pope deemed that negligence on the part of a bishop in handling cases of abuse is enough to oust him from office, it was stressed that the Church “must take care and protect with special love the weak and the helpless” with the tenderness of a mother.
“We have stated that it is our duty to be extremely strict with the priests who betray their mission, and with their hierarchy, bishops or cardinals, who might protect them, as has happened in the past,” Francis saod.
However, the Pope noted that despite the various trials Pittet endured as a child, he also “met another face of the Church, and this allowed him to not lose hope in men and in God.”
“(Pittet) tells us of the power of prayer that he has never abandoned, and that has comforted him in the darkest hours,” he said, pointing to the fact that the author chose to meet his “tormentor” 44 years later, wanting “to look into the eyes of the man who has hurt him in the depths of his soul.”
Instead of condemning the friar, Pittet “lent him his hand,” Francis said, noting that “the wounded child is now a standing man, fragile but standing.”
Pointing to a line written by Pittet in the book, the Pope said he was impressed by the author’s declaration that “many people fail to understand the fact that I do not hate him. I have forgiven him and I built my life on that forgiveness.”
Francis closed his preface saying that he prays for Pittet and “for all those who, like him, were wounded in their innocence, may God lift them and heal them, and give us all his forgiveness and mercy.”
Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A special invitation to visit Egypt was delivered to Pope Francis by Coptic Catholic bishops during their ad limina visit Feb. 6, during which they also gave a report on the state of the Church in… […]
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2017 / 08:40 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a lengthy, unscripted dialogue with 140 male religious superiors, Pope Francis admitted that there is “corruption” inside the Vatican, but said that despite this, his secret to maint… […]
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2017 / 05:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As the historic Jesuit-run paper La Civilta Cattolica for the first time rolled out four new language editions other than Italian, Pope Francis praised their work, urging the writers to have a heal… […]