Pope Francis sent a message on the occasion of the meeting entitled “Our common mission to protect God’s children”, organized by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and by the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The Bishop of Rome referred to the problem of pedophilia in the Church. – Only by accepting the truth about these cruel behaviors and humbly seeking forgiveness of the aggrieved and survivors, the Church will be able to find its way – said the Pope.
– Dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to welcome you to the meeting where you have gathered to consider how the Church is responding today to the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by Church members and how she can respond more adequately to this. the tremendous shock we are facing, Francis said, beginning his message to the participants of the meeting.
The Pope recalled that in February 2019, he encouraged them to take care of “that the welfare of the aggrieved would not be relegated to the background of the misunderstood concern for the image of the Church as an institution.”
– Only by accepting the truth about these cruel behaviors and humbly seeking forgiveness of the aggrieved and survivors, will the Church find her way so that she can again be confidently recognized as a place where those in need can be welcomed and felt safe. Our expressions of repentance should turn into a concrete path of reform, both to prevent further abuse and to ensure that others can believe that our efforts will lead to a real and credible change, the Pope said.
Pope: listen to the voice of the aggrieved
He encouraged them to listen to the cries of the victims and to engage in these “important discussions” because – as he emphasized – they concern the future of the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. – You are not the first to be responsible for taking these very necessary steps, and it is unlikely that you will be the last. But know that you are not alone in these difficult times, Francis assured.
“It is certain that recognizing our mistakes and our failures can make us feel vulnerable and fragile. But it can also be a time of great grace, a time of emptying that opens up new horizons of love and mutual service. If we acknowledge our mistakes, we will have nothing to fear, because it is the Lord himself who will lead us to this point – argued the Bishop of Rome.
The Pope encouraged the faithful to be “humble instruments of the Lord, servants of those wronged by abuse, seeing in them companions and heroes of the common future.” As he said, they should learn from one another “how to foster faithfulness and resilience to weakness so that we can face future challenges together.”
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