To address the terrible scandal of the abuse of minors committed by members of the clergy, Pope Francis meditated on a poignant moment of the Passion of Christ, the moment in which Jesus’ gaze crossed that of Peter’s, who cried, having just denied him. And he did so in his Homily during the day’s morning Mass at Santa Marta, which was attended by several victims with whom the Holy Father then passed the entire morning in a series of lengthy personal interviews.
To them, not only to Catholics, the Bishop of Rome opened the heart to this abyss of evil: not only despicable acts, but like a “sacrilegious cult” which profaned the very image of God in these innocent children, the Pope stated with anguish. And one seemed to hear the words of his predecessor Benedict xvi pronounced with shame and humility, assuming the sins and crimes of the members of the Church, in the various encounters he had with groups of victims.
And Francis too, before God and his people, forcefully declared as grave and ignominious such acts which leave lifelong scars, and which result at times in the desperation of suicide. Begging forgiveness for “the sins of omission on the part of Church”, he then praised the courage of those who told the truth, shedding light on a terrible darkness which may be healed “by the embrace of the Child Jesus”.
But above all the Pope asked for the grace to weep, that the Church “may weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission”, and that wolves may never again enter God’s fold.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 16, 2019
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