Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tragedy of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Cardinal Ouellet

Vatican Symposium of Child Sexual Abuse






FEBRUARY 7, 2012

CHIESA SANT’IGNAZIO, [Gregorian University, Rome]

My venerable brother bishops and priests and my dear
brothers and sisters,

In the context of the reflection that is taking place during these
days of the Symposium “Towards Healing and Renewal”, we
remind ourselves that we are here this evening not only as
believers, but also as penitents.

 The tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by
Christians, especially when done so by members of the clergy, is a
source of great shame and enormous scandal. It is a sin against
which Jesus himself lashed out: “It would be better for him if a
millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Lk.
17:2). Abuse is a crime, in fact, which causes an authentic
experience of death for the innocent victims, whom God alone can
truly raise to new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore,
with profound conviction and awareness of what we do, we turn to
and implore the Lord.

This gesture of purification involves the entire Church, and
each one of us - Bishops, Religious Superiors, educators, all
Christians - feels the pain of what has occurred. We ask that the
Spirit of God, who heals and radically renews all things, come
down upon us.

 As members of the Church, we must have the courage to ask
humbly for God’s pardon, as well as for the forgiveness of His
“little ones” who have been wounded; we must remain close to
them on their road of suffering, seeking in every possible way to
heal and bind up their wounds following the example of the Good
Samaritan. The first step on this road is to listen to them carefully
and to believe their painful stories.

The road of renewal for the Church, who will continue to
educate people and establish proper structures to help prevent
similar crimes, must include the sentiment of “never again”. As
Blessed John Paul II said, “there is no place in the priesthood and
religious life for those who would harm the young” (Address of
Blessed Pope John Paul II to the Cardinals of the United States,
April 23, 2002, n. 3). It is intolerable that the abuse of children
would take place within the Church. Never again!

Sadly, we observe all too well that the sexual abuse of
children is found throughout modern society. It is our profound
hope that the Church’s commitment to address this great evil will
foster renewal among other communities and agencies in society
who have been affected by this tragedy.

In this new path, we Christians should be aware that only
faith can guarantee an authentic work of renewal in the Church:
faith understood as personal, as a true and life-giving relationship
of love with Jesus Christ. Mindful of our own lack of living faith,
we ask the Lord Jesus to restore us all and to lead us through the
agony of the cross towards the joy of the resurrection.

 Sometimes the violence was committed by deeply disturbed
persons or by those who had themselves been abused. It was
necessary to take action concerning them and to prevent them from
continuing any form of ministry for which they were obviously not
suitable. This was not always done properly and, once again, we
apologize to the victims.

 The Shepherds of the Church, having learned from this
terrible and humiliating experience, have a grave duty to take
responsibility in the discernment and acceptance of candidates who
seek to serve within the Church, most especially those seeking
ordained ministry.

 Still shocked by these sad occurrences, we hope that this
Vigil liturgy helps us to view the horrible sins that took place
among the People of God in the light of salvation history, a story
which we have retraced together here tonight. It is a story that
speaks of our misery, of our repeated failures, but most of all of
God’s infinite mercy, of which we are always in need.

 And so we entrust ourselves entirely to the powerful
intercession of the Son of God, who “emptied himself” (Phil. 2:7)
in the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, and who has
taken upon himself every evil, even this evil, destroying its power
so that it would not have the last word.

 The Risen Christ, in fact, is the guarantee and the promise
that life triumphs over death; He is capable of bringing salvation to
each person.

 As we continue with our prayer service, we pray, in the
words of Pope Benedict XVI, for a more profound appreciation of
our respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of our faith
in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water

that he offers us through his Church (cf. Pastoral Letter of Pope
Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland).

 May the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who is
always at work in the world, descend and help us through the
prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, whose
powerful intercession sustains and guides us to be obedient and
receptive to divine love. Amen!

 Marc Cardinal Ouellet


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vatican Prosecutor Demands Action against Child Abuse

Scicluna calls on Catholic Church to act with determination against child abuse

Charles J. Scicluna with Fr. Lombardi

The Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith described to the Vatican Insider the objectives of the conference against paedophilia which opens next week

“In certain Churches where the code of silence is being broken, the number of reported cases of abuse sharply rose before slowly decreasing again. However the worldwide estimates concerning child abuse in society are truly alarming...”said Mgr. Charles J. Scicluna, 52 years old, promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is the man whofor almost ten years has been working with Joseph Ratzinger to fight the upsetting phenomenon of child abuse at the hands of clerics and now he describes to the Vatican Insider the meaning and the objectives of the Symposium which will take place from 6 to 9 February at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He said “There is a desire to act and react well, with determination.” The Symposium called “Towards healing and renovation” has been organized by the university together with some dicasteries of the Holy See and the support of the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. Participants will include the representatives of 110 Episcopal conferences as well as the Father Superiors of thirty religious orders. This will be a truly international conference. According to a press release on the Symposium one of the speakers at the event will be an abuse victim who will talk to attendees about the necessity for victims to be heard and how positive change can be promoted.

Mgr. Scicluna, what is the aim of this Symposium on child abuse by clerics, opening at the Pontifical Gregorian University?
“The words that spring to mind are ‘increased awareness’ (with the sharing of experiences and the analysis of the latest scientific reports) and commitment (with the will to react and act well and with determination).”

From your point of view how would you describe today’s situation compared to the past? Is the phenomenon of child abuse becoming smaller?
“We do not have enough data- maybe we never will- to understand the truth about this upsetting phenomenon. There will always be disparity between the number of cases that actually happen and those that are reported. I noticed that in the Particular Churches (like in the US) where the code of silence has long begun to break, the number of reported cases at first went up dramatically but then slowly dropped again, as demonstrated in the US by the “John Jay Report”. On the other hand the recent estimates on child abuse in society worldwide is truly alarming as confirmed, for the example, by the data collected by the ‘Telefono Azzurro’( child helpline equivalent to the NSPCC in the UK)”

Do you think the Church in general and priests have changed their attitude towards this problem? Do you feel there is more collaboration than in the past?
“The determination to tackle the problem that was highlighted by the Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI has been extremely beneficial to bishops and the whole Catholic Church. There is now a greater awareness of the risks for the community, of the damages caused to young people, of the duty the ecclesiastical authorities have to collaborate with canonical and civil justice.’

Pope Benedict XVI did not just set stricter canon rules, but also most crucially showed care and attention to the victims. Is this attitude shared by many in the Church do you think?
“Various episcopates in Europe have given special attention to the victims, beyond their required legal and civil duty. This is an expression of a healthy and sober solidarity. During the Symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University a great deal of time will be devoted to hearing the victims. It was suggested to the attendees to meet with some abuse victims before coming to Rome for the Symposium. I pray that the Church may increasingly become a light and healing balm for those wounded by this distressing sin.”

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vatican Warns about Child Abuse

Mons. Charles Scicluna, chief Vatican prosecutor, who led investigation into accusations that Fr. Marcial Maciel had abused his seminarians, has alerted the Church in Asia to be alert to pedophilia; he is concerned about cultures of silence which make it hard for victims to come forward. -he was referring to Asia, not Latina American -I say tongue in cheek. He made these statement on the eve of a Vatican conference on Child  Sex Abuse.