Pope Benedict’s Pastoral Letter to Ireland – follow up post

I want to include in today’s posting section 7 of the Pope’s letter to the Church of Ireland in which he addressed priests and religious who are or have been perpetrators of abuse.

“You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon you confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

“I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledging your guilt, submit yourselves the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.”

Amen, I say.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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2 Responses to Pope Benedict’s Pastoral Letter to Ireland – follow up post

  1. karen querna says:

    Bob,

    I am aquainted with a person in my area that was violated by a clergy person. This person has been very active in helping others with similiar experiences. When I first heard what had happened, it was hard for me as I had never encountered this before. I had never heard these stories on my side of the family or on our mutual side.
    The problem is even though the church is trying to correct these injustises, the church still employs some of the perpertrators, perhaps in an effort to protect the church. Is this issue only in our faith? I think not. but I do believe and pray the church must be completelty transparent.

  2. Deacon Bob says:

    I think you are correct in saying this is an issue that other faith traditions are experiencing also. That doesn’t mitigate the seriousness of the problem though.
    What I found so comforting and refreshing is how I think the Pope spoke from the heart in simple language. His apology is sincere. His words to perpetrators are equally clear. His tone is pastoral. I thank him for that.

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