Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Better the second time around


Well Said?!? dated April 17th parsed Pope Benedict’s U.S. apology for clerical sexual abuse of minors and found it less than optimal. Last week the Pope issued another apology, this time while visiting Australia. It was a much better apology, without the hedging in his previous effort.


Here I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. Indeed I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured and I assure them that, as their pastor, I too share in their suffering. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church's witness.

I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice. It is an urgent priority to promote a safer and more wholesome environment, especially for young people. In these days marked by the celebration of World Youth Day, we are reminded of how precious a treasure has been entrusted to us in our young people, and how great a part of the Church's mission in this country has been dedicated to their education and care.

As the Church in Australia continues, in the spirit of the Gospel, to address effectively this serious pastoral challenge, I join you in praying that this time of purification will bring about healing, reconciliation and ever greater fidelity to the moral demands of the Gospel.

I wish now to turn to the seminarians and young religious in our midst, with a special word of affection and encouragement. Dear friends: with great generosity you have set out on a particular path of consecration, grounded in your Baptism and undertaken in response to the Lord's personal call. You have committed
yourselves, in different ways, to accepting Christ's invitation to follow him, to leave all behind, and to devote your lives to the pursuit of holiness and the service of his people. "

Even so, some were not satisfied... "Anthony Foster, the father of two Australian girls who were allegedly raped by a Catholic priest as children, has been publicly seeking a meeting with Benedict during his visit. He said he was disappointed the pope's remarks repeated the church's expressions of regret but offered no practical assistance for victims. "What we haven't had is an unequivocal, unlimited practical response that provides for all the victims for their lifetime," he said. "The practical response needs to include both financial help ... and psychological help."


Full text of pope's sex abuse apology
Pope apologizes for clergy sexual abuse

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