Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pope Francis told victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics the Church should "weep and make reparation" for crimes he said had taken on the dimensions of a sacrilegious cult.





Sacrilege is the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object or person. It can come in the form of irreverence to sacred persons, places, and things. When the sacrilegious offence is verbal, it is called blasphemy, and when physical, it is often called desecration. In a less proper sense, any transgression against what is seen as the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege. "Sacrilege" originates from the Latin sacer, sacred, and legere, to steal, as in Roman times it referred to the plundering of temples and graves. By the time of Cicero, sacrilege had adopted a more expansive meaning, including verbal offences against religion and undignified treatment of sacred objects.

Most ancient religions have a concept analogous to sacrilege, often considered as a type of taboo. The basic idea is that sacred objects are not to be treated in the same way as other objects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrilege



http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/07/pope-abuse-idINKBN0FC15A20140707
(Reuters) - Pope Francis told victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics the Church should "weep and make reparation" for crimes he said had taken on the dimensions of a sacrilegious cult.

"For some time now I have felt in my heart deep pain and suffering," he said in his strongest comments yet on the crimes, delivered in the homily of a Mass with adult victims on Monday. "So much time hidden, camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained until someone realised that Jesus was looking."

He said he would not tolerate abuse, which has been exposed in recent years in many European, American and Asian dioceses. Bishops would be held accountable if they shielded them.

One prominent critic of the church's long failure to act on the cases, and of the pope's failure to meet victims earlier in his pontificate, said he must quickly follow up with clear action to prove the Mass was not just a ceremonial event.

Francis delivered his homily to six victims of abuse, two each from Ireland, Britain and Germany, before meeting all individually at a gathering that lasted nearly four hours, spending about 30 minutes with each one.

"I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons," he said, according to a Vatican transcript.

"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," he said.

Sexual abuse scandals have haunted the Catholic Church for over two decades but became a major issue in the United States about 10 years ago. Since then they have cast a shadow over local churches in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries and badly tarnished the Church's image.



Monday's meeting was closed to media but the Vatican spokesman, who participated, said it was "very intense and moving".

"It was clearly not a public relations event. It was a very profound, spiritual encounter with a pastor, a father, who is trying to understand deeply what happened," Father Federico Lombardi said.

The Vatican did not release the names and ages of the victims but they were believed to be in their 30s and 40s. One victim, Marie Kane, 43, of Ireland, told the Irish Times that she told the pope that "cover-up is still happening and you have the power to make these changes".

The paper said she asked the pope to remove Cardinal Sean Brady because of his handling of an Irish abuse inquiry in 1975.

Victims groups have been pressing the Vatican to hold bishops accountable if they covered up crimes. The pope addressed this directly, repeating the thrust of what he said last April in a conversation with reporters.

BISHOPS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

"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," he said. "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."

Victims groups welcomed the meeting but said it should have taken place long ago. The pope was elected in March, 2013.

Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org, a U.S.-based documentation centre on abuse in the Catholic Church, said the meeting was "positive and necessary," even if overdue.

"Now Pope Francis must internalise and personalise his point about Church leaders 'who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse'," she said in a statement.

She called on the pope to "follow through on his promise today to discipline the many more bishops and religious superiors who even recently have enabled child sexual abuse through their negligence or deliberate cover-up".

The pope told the victims he realised that they and others had suffered "often unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair" and that some had turned to drugs or even taken their own lives.

"The deaths of these so beloved children of God weigh upon the heart and my conscience and that of the whole Church," he said.

Francis came under fire from victims groups for saying in an interview this year that the Roman Catholic Church had done more than any other organisation to root out paedophiles in its ranks.

Victims groups have said the pope had a spotty record of dealing with abuse cases in Argentina when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, and victims from that country sent him a letter expressing "pain" that they were not invited.

The Vatican says 3,420 credible accusations of sexual abuse by priests had been referred to the Vatican in the past 10 years and 824 clerics defrocked. The Church in the United States has paid $2.5 billion in compensation to victims.




http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/07/07/pope_francis%E2%80%99_homily_at_mass_with_sex_abuse_survivors/110262107/07/2014

16:10
Pope meets sex abuse survivors in 'profound spiritual encounter'

Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio)  In his homily at early morning mass at Santa Marta Monday, Pope Francis described his deep pain and suffering over Catholic religious who “betrayed their mission” and “abused innocent persons.”

6 victims of abuse were present for the mass in the Vatican guest house where they met Pope Francis and had the opportunity to speak with him privately.

Below we publish the English translation of his homily, delivered in Spanish:
Homily          

The scene where Peter sees Jesus emerge after a terrible interrogation…  Peter whose eyes meet the gaze of Jesus and weeps…  This scene comes to my mind as I look at you, and think of so many men and women, boys and girls.  I feel the gaze of Jesus and I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons.  Today, I am very grateful to you for having travelled so far to come here.

For some time now I have felt in my heart deep pain and suffering.   So much time hidden, camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained until someone realized that Jesus was looking and others the same… and they set about to sustain that gaze.

And those few who began to weep have touched our conscience for this crime and grave sin.  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.  Childhood, as we all know, young hearts, so open and trusting, have their own way of understanding the mysteries of God’s love and are eager to grow in the faith.  Today the heart of the Church looks into the eyes of Jesus in these boys and girls and wants to weep; she asks the grace to weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left life long 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.  The deaths of these so beloved children of God weigh upon the heart and my conscience and that of the whole Church.  To these families I express my heartfelt love and sorrow.  Jesus, tortured and interrogated with passionate hatred, is taken to another place and he looks out.  He looks out upon one of his own, the one who denied him, and he makes him weep.  Let us implore this grace together with that of making amends.

Sins of clerical sexual abuse against minors have a toxic effect on faith and hope in God.  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.  Surely it is a sign of God’s mercy that today we have this opportunity to encounter one another, to adore God, to look in one another’s eyes and seek the grace of reconciliation.

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.

On the other hand, the courage that you and others have shown by speaking up, by telling the truth, was a service of love, since for us it 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.  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.

What Jesus says about those who cause scandal applies to all of us: the millstone and the sea (cf. Mt 18:6).

By the same token we will continue to exercise vigilance in priestly formation.  I am counting on the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, all minors, whatever religion they belong to, they are little flowers which God looks lovingly upon.

I ask this support so as to help me ensure that we develop better policies and procedures in the universal Church for the protection of minors and for the training of church personnel in implementing those policies and procedures.  We need to do everything in our power to ensure that these sins have no place in the Church.

Dear brothers and sisters, because we are all members of God’s family, we are called to live lives shaped by mercy.  The Lord Jesus, our Savior, is the supreme example of this; though innocent, he took our sins upon himself on the cross.  To be reconciled is the very essence of our shared identity as followers of Jesus Christ.  By turning back to him, accompanied by our most holy Mother, who stood sorrowing at the foot of the cross, let us seek the grace of reconciliation with the entire people of God.

The loving intercession of Our Lady of Tender Mercy is an unfailing source of help in the process of our healing.

You and all those who were abused by clergy are loved by God.  I pray that the remnants of the darkness which touched you may be healed by the embrace of the Child Jesus and that the harm which was done to you will give way to renewed faith and joy.

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. Jesus comes forth from an unjust trial, from a cruel interrogation and he looks in the eyes of Peter, and Peter weeps. We ask that he look at us and that we allow ourselves to be looked upon and to weep and that he give us the grace to be ashamed, so that, like Peter, forty days later, we can reply: “You know that I love you”; and hear him say: “go back and feed my sheep” – and I would add – “let no wolf enter the sheepfold”.

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