The initial shock of the news that far too many priests had abused children grew only larger when we learned how Catholic bishops and dioceses tried to silence victims and cover up wrong doing. That truth was sacrificed for the sake of the Church’s reputation is not only a scandal, but a decision that led to abusing priests being sent to new parishes, placing more innocent children at risk. What has been overlooked in many places is the number of good priests who have had to deal with the fallout of the scandal—the anger of some of their parishioners, social media attacks on the Church and the suspicion that lingers around the priesthood in general.
While Pope Francis has taken the courageous step to publicly acknowledge the sin of the Church; and he did this at a public meeting of the Bishops of the world held at the Vatican earlier this year (February 2019) in Rome, we know that no meeting, no amount of new regulations will undo the damage already caused. The Pope did not pretend that this could happen. What he demanded on the Bishops was to find concrete ways to renew the Church as a spiritual home for those whose lives had been broken by priests and bishops who abused their power and position of authority. He knew that expressions of compassion and justice for the victims must be affirmed in dismantling those systems and structures that made power and authority more important than mercy and service; that allowed both the abuse and cover-up to go on so long.
What can Secular Franciscans do to support the healing process, to join with both the Pope and their Patron in the work begun with summons of the Crucified: “Francis, rebuild my house”? READ HIS FULL ARTICLE
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