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          Chilean cardinal addresses case of sex abuse in Santiago cathedral      Cache   Translate Page      

Santiago, Chile, Mar 11, 2019 / 07:34 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago on Thursday denied knowing and giving  money to the complainant in a rape case in the cathedral which took place in 2015.

The Archbishop of Santiago gave an interview to Informe Especial which was broadcast March 7.

In the interview, he discussed a rape complaint against Fr. Rigoberto Tito Rivera Muñoz, who was found guilty in August 2018 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the sexual abuse of adults.

Rivera sexually assaulted Daniel Rojas Alvarez, who was then about 40, in a room of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in 2015.

Rojas claims he told Cardinal Ezzati of the attack during a confession, and that the archbishop asked him to pray for the abuser, gave him 30,000 pesos ($45), and asked that he not asked him not to share what happened.

In the Informe Especial interview, Ezzati said: “I hear confessions in the cathedral, especially during the time of Holy Week, but I am not aware of having heard his confession, because I don't know him and still less am I aware of giving him a hug and telling him that a priest would give him some money in my name, that's not it, this is all very unfortunate, but that's not the case, I understand that he may feel what he feels, and I have complete esteem and all my affection for him, because of what he has suffered,” he said.

Asked if he ever had contact with Rojas, the cardinal said “no.”

Regarding the processing of the case, Ezzati explained that the complaint was received by the Pastoral Office for Complaints: “It came to the archdiocese a few days later and immediately the archbishop ordered a preliminary investigation.”

“Within a few hours and a few days later that the investigator, Fr. Walker, conducted a preliminary investigation, which he gave to me, I received a phone call in which I was told  that the Holy See had asked the nunciature to review [Rivera's] situation because of a complaint that had come to them. I don't know what complaint, so consequently I immediately sent all the documentation where appropriate.”

Regarding the time elapsed between the filing of the complaint and calling in the victim (to testify), Cardinal Ezzati pointed out that “in 2016 the investigation was already done. What also happened is that they were never able to get Daniel's address. Except toward the end, Daniel gave (us) his e-mail, and he was able to be able contacted there.”

Asked about his responsibility in the abuse scandals within the Church, the cardinal said that “without a doubt one of the tasks that has fallen on me, and very painful, very shameful, very humiliating, is to take in hand the cases that are being reported and have been reported.”

“What I can tell you with a lot of transparency and with a lot of peace, we certainly could have made some mistakes, we're not infallible, I'm not infallible, but that in all the cases that have been reported to the Archdiocese of Santiago, for which since 2011 I have been responsible, all, all the cases have been investigated, and all cases are investigated, and what people reported before then, and they are in the process of being resolved.”

Concerning the accusations for alleged cover-up of abuse in which at least ten priests are implicated, Cardinal Ezzati said that “the justice system has to determine that. I am very much at peace and  I am willing, and as I have always said, I am at the disposal of the justice system if they want to investigate and they have the complete freedom to do so.”  

Asked about a bill which seeks to take away his Chilean citizenship, Ezzati (a native of Italy) said it “that pains me immensely, foremost because I was granted citizenship by indult and the decree sets out the reasons.”

He said that “the authorities are certainly free to take the path they want” and “personally I think it's unjust, but I am going to continue to work as archbishop as long as the Holy See asks me to do so.”

“After (they do that), as a priest with no complaints about what I was able to contribute at this time in the history of Chile, whether as an educator or as a pastor, I am going to continue working because what I am interested in is not titles, but was I am interested in is people,” he concluded.

The Archdiocese of Santiago stated last week that it received a complaint of possible abuse of minors by Rivera in August 2011, but that during enquiries into the case “it was not possible to contact the complainant.”

The Pastoral Office for Complaints then received a complaint against Rivera from an adult in March 2015, which permitted the start of a preliminary investigation and the implementation of the precautionary measure of removing the priest from all pastoral responsibilities.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the request of the Santiago archdiocese, “gave new instructions to continue the preliminary investigation and to start an administrative penal process” in September 2016.

The preliminary investigation was closed in November 2016, leading to the administrative penal process which concluded with the Decree of Condemnation of Aug. 16, 2018.

The priest was declared “guilty of crimes against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue continued  over time and involving scandal, with adults, as is specified in Canon 1395§1 of the Code of Canon Law,” the archdiocese said.

Rivera was suspended from public ministry for ten years, “only being able to celebrate the Eucharist privately and with the company of a person over 50 years of age.”

He was also prohibited from “meeting with or maintaining contact with young people” and was required not to move anywhere.

Once the ten years are completed, if the priest does not comply with the measures, he risks “being suspended for a greater period of time.”

The archdiocese also noted that these four penalties were “among others.”

It concluded, saying that “besides the canonical sentence which was implemented  in September 2018, an exhaustive review was begun to clarify all the information that was made known publicly.”

Cardinal Ezzati has faced accusations that he was involved in covering up the crimes of other abusive priests, including Fernando Karadima and Oscar Munoz Toledo.


          For US religious freedom ambassador, concerns remain on Vatican-China deal      Cache   Translate Page      

Hong Kong, China, Mar 12, 2019 / 03:39 am (CNA).- The Vatican’s deal with China on the appointment of bishops has not changed the government’s abuse of Catholics and sets a bad precedent for government interference with other religions, including Tibetan Buddhism, said the U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom.

“Since this provisional deal was announced last year, the Chinese government’s abuse of members of Catholic communities has continued. We see no signs that will change in the near future,” Ambassador Sam Brownback said in March 8 remarks to the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, China.

His speech was part of a two-day forum on religious freedom, jointly sponsored by Taiwan and the U.S., Agence France Presse reports.

Authorities in Henan province have banned anyone under 18 from going into church to attend Mass, he said. Throughout China in the last year, government officials have forcibly closed hundreds of unregistered churches, both Protestant house churches and “underground” Catholic communities, Brownback said. He added that officials in Zhejiang province are destroying crosses and churches and pressuring Christians to renounce their faith.

Dozens of Catholic bishop positions are unfilled at present.

In September the Catholic Church reached a provisional agreement with the Chinese government regarding bishop appointments that reportedly allows the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association to choose a slate of nominees for bishop.

“Therefore, the power to select the leaders of the Catholic Church in China rests partially with the Chinese Communist Party, which likely results in only individuals whom the Party deems loyal to its interests being put forth to the Vatican,” Brownback said.

“Members of the Catholic community, such as Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen, who members of the audience here know, courageously and vehemently opposed this deal,” said the ambassador.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has rejected any depiction of the deal as a “unilateral sacrifice” that demands nothing of leaders long associated with China’s official Catholic organization.

“It is not about establishing who wins or who loses, who is right or wrong,” he told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, voicing hope that he would not hear of local situations where Chinese officials exploit the agreement to go beyond its terms.

Brownback said the Chinese government “continues to violate the sacred right to religious freedom that is in its Constitution and also enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human rights.” He cited the United States’ designation of China as a “Country of Particular Concern” since 1999 due to its engagement in or tolerance of “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

His speech drew a response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which called it a “malicious attack and slander on China’s religious policies,” Agence France Presse reports. The ministry added: “we ask the U.S. to respect the facts, stop the arrogance and prejudice and cease using religious issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

“We remain concerned about the precedent this deal sets for the Chinese Communist Party’s perceived authority in interfering in the selection of other religious leaders, such as preeminent Tibetan Buddhist lamas like His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” said Brownback.

The Chinese government’s interference in the succession of Tibetan spiritual leaders includes its 1995 abduction of the 11th Panchen Lama, then six years old, and his parents. It is unknown whether he is still alive.

“We call upon the Chinese government to release immediately the Tibetan-recognized Panchen Lama or share the truth about his fate with the world,” said Brownback. “We do not accept the Chinese government’s often repeated explanation that he is studying and does not want to be disturbed.”

“The international community must make clear now that we believe that members of the Tibetan communities, like members of all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, and venerate their religious leaders without government interference,” he said.

Brownback cited aggressive interference in Tibetan Buddhist practices and Tibetan culture. Government restrictions on monks and lay people hinder pilgrimages. Authorities appoint communists to head monasteries and ban children from religious activities. Thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns have been evicted, and their monasteries demolished. Monks and nuns are forced to take political reeducation in state ideology and to denounce the Dalai Lama.

The government bans the picture of the Dalai Lama and his teachings, and it arrests those who openly revere him, said the ambassador, who added that this record indicates China’s government will likely interfere with the selection of the next Dalai Lama.

China’s government has also increased the repression of other Christians, including the detention of hundreds of members of the largest Protestant home church, Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu in Sichuan Province. Twelve people are still detained and their whereabouts are unknown.

On Good Friday 2018, officials began to enforce a ban on online sales of the Bible.

Brownback criticized efforts to control “countless” religious groups, often along ethnic lines, through “religious affairs regulations.” These, in addition to “the destruction of houses of worship, the unlawful imprisonment of religious leaders, and actions to ruthlessly silence any forms of constructive dissent,” show the Chinese government’s disregard for human dignity, the ambassador charged.

China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the far western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region also drew criticism from Brownback, who said Chinese authorities have arbitrarily detained Muslim minorities in internment camps for practices like having a beard, wearing a veil, attending religious services, observing Ramadan, or praying. Travel is restricted, and parents are not allowed to give their children common Muslim names.

More than one million ethnic Muslims have been detained, according to U.N. figures.

The ambassador rejected Chinese government claims that the camps are vocational training centers, charging that they are “internment camps created to wipe out the cultural and religious identity of minority communities.” Internment is often based on cultural or religious identity. Detention is indefinite, and internees are subjected to “physical and psychological torture, intense political indoctrination, and forced labor,” he charged.

He also mentioned Falun Gong, saying its practitioners are detained in the thousands, with some tortured. At least 69 practitioners died in custody or due to injuries sustained in custody in 2018, the group estimated. The group has faced government action for over 20 years. Some practitioners appear to be missing.

Brownback cited allegations that the Chinese government forcibly harvests organs from people imprisoned due to their faith or religious practice, including in the case of Falun Gong practitioners and Uighur Muslims.

The U.S. backs “religious freedom for all,” Brownback told his audience, and is pursuing “a simple but important dream: that one day all peoples around the world will be able to worship freely and believe what they want, just like you can in Hong Kong.”

The Vatican-China agreement, signed Sept. 22, 2018, is still confidential in nature. But as one effect of the agreement, the Holy See recognized seven illicitly consecrated Chinese bishops and entrusted them with the leadership of Chinese dioceses.

At the moment all of China’s bishops have recognition of both the government and the Holy See. Since the deal, no new bishops have yet been appointed to China.

 


          Chilean cardinal addresses case of sex abuse in Santiago cathedral      Cache   Translate Page      

Santiago, Chile, Mar 11, 2019 / 07:34 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago on Thursday denied knowing and giving  money to the complainant in a rape case in the cathedral which took place in 2015.

The Archbishop of Santiago gave an interview to Informe Especial which was broadcast March 7.

In the interview, he discussed a rape complaint against Fr. Rigoberto Tito Rivera Muñoz, who was found guilty in August 2018 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the sexual abuse of adults.

Rivera sexually assaulted Daniel Rojas Alvarez, who was then about 40, in a room of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in 2015.

Rojas claims he told Cardinal Ezzati of the attack during a confession, and that the archbishop asked him to pray for the abuser, gave him 30,000 pesos ($45), and asked that he not asked him not to share what happened.

In the Informe Especial interview, Ezzati said: “I hear confessions in the cathedral, especially during the time of Holy Week, but I am not aware of having heard his confession, because I don't know him and still less am I aware of giving him a hug and telling him that a priest would give him some money in my name, that's not it, this is all very unfortunate, but that's not the case, I understand that he may feel what he feels, and I have complete esteem and all my affection for him, because of what he has suffered,” he said.

Asked if he ever had contact with Rojas, the cardinal said “no.”

Regarding the processing of the case, Ezzati explained that the complaint was received by the Pastoral Office for Complaints: “It came to the archdiocese a few days later and immediately the archbishop ordered a preliminary investigation.”

“Within a few hours and a few days later that the investigator, Fr. Walker, conducted a preliminary investigation, which he gave to me, I received a phone call in which I was told  that the Holy See had asked the nunciature to review [Rivera's] situation because of a complaint that had come to them. I don't know what complaint, so consequently I immediately sent all the documentation where appropriate.”

Regarding the time elapsed between the filing of the complaint and calling in the victim (to testify), Cardinal Ezzati pointed out that “in 2016 the investigation was already done. What also happened is that they were never able to get Daniel's address. Except toward the end, Daniel gave (us) his e-mail, and he was able to be able contacted there.”

Asked about his responsibility in the abuse scandals within the Church, the cardinal said that “without a doubt one of the tasks that has fallen on me, and very painful, very shameful, very humiliating, is to take in hand the cases that are being reported and have been reported.”

“What I can tell you with a lot of transparency and with a lot of peace, we certainly could have made some mistakes, we're not infallible, I'm not infallible, but that in all the cases that have been reported to the Archdiocese of Santiago, for which since 2011 I have been responsible, all, all the cases have been investigated, and all cases are investigated, and what people reported before then, and they are in the process of being resolved.”

Concerning the accusations for alleged cover-up of abuse in which at least ten priests are implicated, Cardinal Ezzati said that “the justice system has to determine that. I am very much at peace and  I am willing, and as I have always said, I am at the disposal of the justice system if they want to investigate and they have the complete freedom to do so.”  

Asked about a bill which seeks to take away his Chilean citizenship, Ezzati (a native of Italy) said it “that pains me immensely, foremost because I was granted citizenship by indult and the decree sets out the reasons.”

He said that “the authorities are certainly free to take the path they want” and “personally I think it's unjust, but I am going to continue to work as archbishop as long as the Holy See asks me to do so.”

“After (they do that), as a priest with no complaints about what I was able to contribute at this time in the history of Chile, whether as an educator or as a pastor, I am going to continue working because what I am interested in is not titles, but was I am interested in is people,” he concluded.

The Archdiocese of Santiago stated last week that it received a complaint of possible abuse of minors by Rivera in August 2011, but that during enquiries into the case “it was not possible to contact the complainant.”

The Pastoral Office for Complaints then received a complaint against Rivera from an adult in March 2015, which permitted the start of a preliminary investigation and the implementation of the precautionary measure of removing the priest from all pastoral responsibilities.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the request of the Santiago archdiocese, “gave new instructions to continue the preliminary investigation and to start an administrative penal process” in September 2016.

The preliminary investigation was closed in November 2016, leading to the administrative penal process which concluded with the Decree of Condemnation of Aug. 16, 2018.

The priest was declared “guilty of crimes against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue continued  over time and involving scandal, with adults, as is specified in Canon 1395§1 of the Code of Canon Law,” the archdiocese said.

Rivera was suspended from public ministry for ten years, “only being able to celebrate the Eucharist privately and with the company of a person over 50 years of age.”

He was also prohibited from “meeting with or maintaining contact with young people” and was required not to move anywhere.

Once the ten years are completed, if the priest does not comply with the measures, he risks “being suspended for a greater period of time.”

The archdiocese also noted that these four penalties were “among others.”

It concluded, saying that “besides the canonical sentence which was implemented  in September 2018, an exhaustive review was begun to clarify all the information that was made known publicly.”

Cardinal Ezzati has faced accusations that he was involved in covering up the crimes of other abusive priests, including Fernando Karadima and Oscar Munoz Toledo.


          O'Malley introduces whistleblower system for complaints against Boston bishops      Cache   Translate Page      

Boston, Mass., Mar 11, 2019 / 03:30 pm (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced it will implement a third-party system for reporting allegations of abuse or misconduct against bishops in the diocese.

Boston is the second archdiocese to announce such a system, after a proposed national reporting system for allegations against bishops was scuttled during a November 2018 meeting of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

“I have decided to implement EthicsPoint, a confidential, anonymous and third-party system, exclusively for the reporting of misconduct by a Cardinal, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston announced in a March 8 letter.

“Since 2011 we have utilized EthicsPoint for concerns of potential ethics violations, financial improprieties, and other violations of the Archdiocesan Code of Conduct related to financial matters.”

“Like the existing system currently in use, this will be web based and have a toll-free hotline to make a report. Reports will be sent to members of my Independent Review Board who will be charged to immediately notify law enforcement for claims of abuse as well as the apostolic nuncio; the diplomatic representative to the U.S. of the Holy See. The system will be hosted on secured servers at the EthicsPoint facility and is not connected to the Archdiocese of Boston website, intranet system or the existing EthicsPoint system currently in use. We anticipate the system being up and running soon and will provide more information at that time,” O’Malley said.

The cardinal said that the importance of “an effective reporting mechanism when a Bishop or Cardinal has failed in his duty to protect children or has himself abused children or vulnerable adults” was discussed at a February Vatican summit focused on prevent child abuse.

The bishop said he believes the U.S. bishops conference will introduce a national reporting procedure at some time, adding his desire to “address this need immediately for the Archdiocese of Boston.”

In November, the U.S. bishops’ conference was stopped by the Vatican from voting on proposals that would have created a nationalized third-party whistleblower system for reporting allegations against bishops, and a lay-led independent commission for investigating those allegations. The Vatican said it had not had sufficient time to review the proposals ahead of the scheduled vote.   

The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced a whistleblower hotline for complaints against bishops in January, as well as a plan for the archdiocesan independent review board to receive complaints and forward them to appropriate civil authorities.

When O’Malley announced Boston’s system, he also said that the Vatican’s abuse summit had pointed to the importance of hearing from the victims of clerical sexual abuse.

“The way forward for the Church is to hold as a priority the voices and experience of survivors, to keep them close to every step we take and make all possible efforts to provide the means for them to be heard.”

“In Boston we will continue to provide pastoral care and counseling for survivors. We will continue to carry out programs of prevention and education in our schools and parishes. We will continue to do background checks annually for bishops, priests, all archdiocesan personnel, and all volunteers who work with children and young people,” the cardinal added.

O’Malley faced criticism last year, after it was reported that he had received a letter raising concerns about laicized bishop Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with seminarians, and did not respond by forwarding it to the proper ecclesiastical authorities. The cardinal apologized for the way that letter, and others like it, were handled in his office.

The cardinal said that he left the Vatican abuse summit “convinced that no bishop could possibly say that his diocese is not affected by these issues or that this is not a problem in his country and culture. Patience among our people and in the wider community is exhausted and understandably the call is rising for effective action.”

 


          The Holy See and Cardinal Pell      Cache   Translate Page      
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          The Holy See and Cardinal Pell      Cache   Translate Page      

Cardinal George Pell’s December 2018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse” was a travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism—a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial. How else does one explain how 12 jurors, presented with uncorroborated charges refuted by overwhelming evidence that the alleged crimes could not have happened, completely reversed the overwhelming pro-acquittal vote delivered by a hung jury in the cardinal’s first trial last year?

Continue Reading »


          Papal almoner inaugurates pediatric healthcare center in Central African Republic (L'Osservatore Romano)      Cache   Translate Page      
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski’s remarks appear on page 4 of the Vatican newspaper’s English edition. The pediatric hospital is the only one in the war-torn country and specializes in the care of malnourished children. It was renovated and expanded with the support of the Holy See’s Bambino Gesù Hospital.
          Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Leander of Seville, Doctor of the Faith      Cache   Translate Page      
St. Leander of Seville (550-600) Image: Catholic Online (Franciscan Media) Leander was born in Spain Cartagena of a family that included three other sibling Saints: Isidore, Fulgentius and Florentina — Leander became a Monk at Seville and later Bishop of the Holy See. Saint Leander of Seville, is remembered for revising and unifying the Spanish  […]
          Vatican spokesmen: Pope Francis’ seventh year will be ‘synodal’      Cache   Translate Page      

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2019 / 10:15 am (CNA).- On the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election Wednesday, the Vatican's chief spokesman said Francis will continue to lead the Church as a synodal “field hospital” in the year ahead.

 

Pope Francis “has a vision of an ‘outgoing’ Church and a ‘field hospital’ Church,” Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office told Vatican Media March 13.

 

“The outgoing Church presupposes that you walk … and ‘synodal’ means walking together,” he continued.

 

Gisotti connected Pope Francis’ vision of the Church, from the beginning of his pontificate, as a field hospital to the Vatican’s recent sex abuse summit on the protection of minors.

 

“With the meeting on the protection of minors we have seen a Church that has the courage to bind the wounds of women and men of our time,” Gisotti said.

 

The Vatican spokesman reaffirmed that last month’s Vatican summit necessitated concrete follow-up on the global issue of the protection of minors. This next phase will include the publication of a motu proprio, a handbook from the Congregation on the Doctrine of Faith with a series of regulations, and a task force with experts that can consult bishops’ conferences on the issue of child protection.

 

“Many had some doubts that it was appropriate to hold this meeting, while the Pope in this regard showed courage and also, in my opinion, a prophetic courage, because for the first time - in the face of a terrible scandal that puts at risk not only the credibility, but in some respects the very mission of the Church - he convoked all the presidents of the episcopates,” Gisotti said.

 

Vatican Media Editor Andrea Tornielli also said that pope’s sixth year will be “marked at the beginning and the end by two ‘synodal’ events,” the Vatican sex abuse summit and the special Synod on the Amazon respectively.

 

“But a look at the past year cannot ignore the re-emergence of the abuse scandal and the internal divisions that led the former nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò last August to publicly demand the resignation of the Pope for the management of the McCarrick case, just as Francis celebrated the Eucharist with thousands of families in Dublin proposing the beauty and value of Christian marriage,” Tornielli wrote in an Italian editorial on the eve of the pope’s anniversary.

 

“The Church, as Pope Francis reminds us today, is not self-sufficient precisely because she too recognizes herself as a beggar asking for healing, in need of mercy and forgiveness from her Lord and she bears witness to the Gospel to many wounded men and women of our time,” he said.

 

“Perhaps never before as in the troubled year just gone by, the sixth of his pontificate, has the Pope who presents himself as ‘a forgiven sinner,’ testified to this essential and most relevant fact of the Christian faith,” he continued.

 

The pope spent the sixth anniversary of his election as the 265th successor of St. Peter on a weeklong Lenten retreat with members of the Roman curia, held outside of Vatican City.

 

At the retreat Wednesday, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Pope Francis and 64 members of the Roman curia that “we are asking that the Lord be your light, support and comfort in your task of confirming your brethren in faith, of being the foundation of unity, and of showing everyone the way that leads to heaven.”


          Vatican spokesmen: Pope Francis’ seventh year will be ‘synodal’      Cache   Translate Page      

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2019 / 10:15 am (CNA).- On the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election Wednesday, the Vatican's chief spokesman said Francis will continue to lead the Church as a synodal “field hospital” in the year ahead.

 

Pope Francis “has a vision of an ‘outgoing’ Church and a ‘field hospital’ Church,” Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office told Vatican Media March 13.

 

“The outgoing Church presupposes that you walk … and ‘synodal’ means walking together,” he continued.

 

Gisotti connected Pope Francis’ vision of the Church, from the beginning of his pontificate, as a field hospital to the Vatican’s recent sex abuse summit on the protection of minors.

 

“With the meeting on the protection of minors we have seen a Church that has the courage to bind the wounds of women and men of our time,” Gisotti said.

 

The Vatican spokesman reaffirmed that last month’s Vatican summit necessitated concrete follow-up on the global issue of the protection of minors. This next phase will include the publication of a motu proprio, a handbook from the Congregation on the Doctrine of Faith with a series of regulations, and a task force with experts that can consult bishops’ conferences on the issue of child protection.

 

“Many had some doubts that it was appropriate to hold this meeting, while the Pope in this regard showed courage and also, in my opinion, a prophetic courage, because for the first time - in the face of a terrible scandal that puts at risk not only the credibility, but in some respects the very mission of the Church - he convoked all the presidents of the episcopates,” Gisotti said.

 

Vatican Media Editor Andrea Tornielli also said that pope’s sixth year will be “marked at the beginning and the end by two ‘synodal’ events,” the Vatican sex abuse summit and the special Synod on the Amazon respectively.

 

“But a look at the past year cannot ignore the re-emergence of the abuse scandal and the internal divisions that led the former nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò last August to publicly demand the resignation of the Pope for the management of the McCarrick case, just as Francis celebrated the Eucharist with thousands of families in Dublin proposing the beauty and value of Christian marriage,” Tornielli wrote in an Italian editorial on the eve of the pope’s anniversary.

 

“The Church, as Pope Francis reminds us today, is not self-sufficient precisely because she too recognizes herself as a beggar asking for healing, in need of mercy and forgiveness from her Lord and she bears witness to the Gospel to many wounded men and women of our time,” he said.

 

“Perhaps never before as in the troubled year just gone by, the sixth of his pontificate, has the Pope who presents himself as ‘a forgiven sinner,’ testified to this essential and most relevant fact of the Christian faith,” he continued.

 

The pope spent the sixth anniversary of his election as the 265th successor of St. Peter on a weeklong Lenten retreat with members of the Roman curia, held outside of Vatican City.

 

At the retreat Wednesday, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Pope Francis and 64 members of the Roman curia that “we are asking that the Lord be your light, support and comfort in your task of confirming your brethren in faith, of being the foundation of unity, and of showing everyone the way that leads to heaven.”




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