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The courage of purification

· At the beginning of the Mass concluding the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, the Penitential Act of the Pope offered for abuses committed by members of the Church against young people ·

“We ask forgiveness”: Pope Francis’s invocation echoed eight times in Dublin’s Phoenix Park during the Penitential Act pronounced at the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration Sunday afternoon, 26 August. His request gave voice to the cry of pain of all of the victims of abuses committed against young people by members of the clergy, and in particular of those “eight persons who are survivors” with whom the Pope met for an hour and a half in the Nunciature on Saturday afternoon, 25 August.

“In reflecting on what they told me, I wish to implore the Lord’s mercy for these crimes and to ask forgiveness for them”, the Pope pronounced, invoking the Lord to “preserve and increase this sense of shame and repentance, and grant us the strength to ensure that it never happens again”. Shortly after, greeting the Irish bishops before departing the country, he expressed a renewed invitation to continue with courage on the journey of “purification and reconciliation with victims”.

And if the question of the scandals that have besieged the Church were the background of some of the most important moments of this Papal voyage, the theme of the family was threaded through all of the public meetings, especially during the closing moments of this important world gathering hosted by the Irish capital in recent days. The vigil that took place Saturday evening at Croke Park Stadium provided the Pope with the opportunity to reaffirm that the family represents “the hope of the Church and of the world”, in the same way that he had recalled shortly beforehand when greeting young couples in the Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral. In the Sunday Mass, Pope Francis recalled the image of a “domestic Pentecost” to encourage the witness of families called to “break down every barrier in order to reconcile the world to God and to make us what we were always meant to be: a single human family dwelling together in justice, holiness and peace”.

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Sept. 22, 2018

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