I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves. This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.
On the other hand, the courage that you and others have shown by speaking up, by telling the truth, was a service of love, since for us it shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church. There is no place in the Church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not. All bishops must carry out their pastoral ministry with the utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable.
What Jesus says about those who cause scandal applies to all of us: the millstone and the sea (cf. Matthew 18:6).
By the same token we will continue to exercise vigilance in priestly formation. I am counting on the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, all minors, whatever religion they belong to, they are little flowers which God looks lovingly upon.
I ask this support so as to help me ensure that we develop better policies and procedures in the universal Church for the protection of minors and for the training of church personnel in implementing those policies and procedures. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that these sins have no place in the Church.
Dear brothers and sisters, because we are all members of God’s family, we are called to live lives shaped by mercy. The Lord Jesus, our Savior, is the supreme example of this; though innocent, he took our sins upon himself on the cross. To be reconciled is the very essence of our shared identity as followers of Jesus Christ. By turning back to him, accompanied by our most holy Mother, who stood sorrowing at the foot of the cross, let us seek the grace of reconciliation with the entire people of God. The loving intercession of Our Lady of Tender Mercy is an unfailing source of help in the process of our healing.
You and all those who were abused by clergy are loved by God. I pray that the remnants of the darkness which touched you may be healed by the embrace of the Child Jesus and that the harm which was done to you will give way to renewed faith and joy.
I am grateful for this meeting. And please pray for me, so that the eyes of my heart will always clearly see the path of merciful love, and that God will grant me the courage to persevere on this path for the good of all children and young people. Jesus comes forth from an unjust trial, from a cruel interrogation and he looks in the eyes of Peter, and Peter weeps. We ask that he look at us and that we allow ourselves to be looked upon and to weep and that he give us the grace to be ashamed, so that, like Peter, forty days later, we can reply: “You know that I love you”; and hear him say: “go back and feed my sheep” – and I would add – “let no wolf enter the sheepfold”.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Second Reading:
Extracted from the letter from Saint Paul to the Romans 8:9, 11-13
Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you.
In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him, and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives.
If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children.
20 July 2014
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, First reading:
Extracted from the Prophet Zechariah 9:9-10
The Lord says this:
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Responsorial: Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
I will give you glory, O God my king, I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God.
The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall and raises all who are bowed down.