Monday, July 7, 2014

Pope Francis Asks Forgiveness For The Sins of Child Sexual Abuse in the Church - Full Text

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Pope Francis today celebrated a strictly private mass with six adults – German, Irish and British – who were sexually abused by priests as children and he apologized to them and to all who faced the same abuse.

The homily he said at the mass was the first complete text dedicated by any Pope to "the crime and grave sin" of child sexual abuse that had rocked the Roman Catholic Church and its clerics.

The Pope also apologised for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders. At the end of the mass, Francis spent over three hours with the victims, holding a series of private interviews with each one individually.

Read the text of the Pope's homily below. Some are calling it a PR Stunt, but I find it very heartfelt and I believe victims will be moved to forgiveness and healing. 

“The Pope started off his homily describing the scene where Peter weeps when he sees Jesus emerge after an  interrogation that would lead to his crucifixion. Francis pronounced today’s homily in Spanish to ask for “the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons.” 
Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves.  This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”

"This is what causes me distress and pain at the fact that some priests and bishops, by sexually abusing minors, violated their innocence and their own priestly vocation.  It is something more than despicable actions.  It is like a sacrilegious cult, because these boys and girls had been entrusted to the priestly charism in order to be brought to God. And those people sacrificed them to the idol of their own concupiscence.  They profane the very image of God in whose likeness we were created.”

The Pope acknowledged that these acts of abuse “have left lifelong scars.

"I know that these wounds are a source of deep and often unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair. Many of those who have suffered in this way have also sought relief in the path of addiction.  Others have experienced difficulties in significant relationships, with parents, spouses and children.  Suffering in families has been especially grave, since the damage provoked by abuse affects these vital family relationships. Some have even had to deal with the terrible tragedy of the death of a loved one by suicide. Some of you have held fast to faith, while for others the experience of betrayal and abandonment has led to a weakening of faith in God. Your presence here speaks of the miracle of hope, which prevails against the deepest darkness.”

The Pope praised victims for the “courage” they showed in bringing the truth to light – a “service of love” which “shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church.”

“There is no place in the Church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not.” “What Jesus says about those who cause scandal applies to all of us: the millstone and the sea. All bishops must carry out their pastoral ministry with the utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable.”

“I am grateful for this meeting.  And please pray for me, so that the eyes of my heart will always clearly see the path of merciful love, and that God will grant me the courage to persevere on this path for the good of all children and young people,” the Pope said.

Via VaticanInsider

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