Pope's preacher calls for abuse penitence
Speaking in the presence of the Pope on Friday, the official "preacherof the papal household", Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, has called for theChurch to hold a worldwide day of fasting and penitence to askforgiveness for priest sex abuse.
Zenit reports that Fr Cantalamessa made the suggestion during a pre-Christmas sermon to the Pope and Vatican officials.
Inan Advent reflection on mourning, Fr Cantalamessa said that "the Churchhas 'wept and sighed' in recent times for the abominations committed inher womb by some of her own ministers and shepherds".
The Church"has paid a high price for this," Fr Cantalamessa continued. "She hassought to repair the damage. Strict rules have been laid down so thatthese abuses do not happen again."
"The moment has come, afterthe emergency, to do that which is the most important: to weep beforeGod, to do penance, as God himself has been abused; to do penance forthe offence against the body of Christ and the scandalising of the'least of his brothers', more than for the damage and dishonour thathas been brought upon us," Fr Cantalamessa added.
He said theChurch should call "a day of fasting and penitence, at the local andnational level, where the problem was worst, to publicly express sorrowbefore God and solidarity with the victims".
Such a day would,he said, help "reconciliation of souls" so the Church could get back onthe path of doing its work "with a renewed heart".
Quoting PopeBenedict, whose words "give me the courage to say this", FrCantalamessa said that "the wounds caused" are "profound, and the workto restore confidence and trust once these have been broken is urgent".
Referringto the perpetrators of sexual abuse, Fr Cantalamessa paraphrased a textof St Paul to the effect that "let [the perpetrator] be subjected tohuman justice so that his soul might obtain salvation".
Father Cantalamessa on Those Who Mourn (Zenit, 16/12/06)
Papal preacher wants "penitence day" for sex abuse (Reuters, 15/12/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa website
Pope's Easter wish for peace in troubled world (CathNews, 18/4/06)
Cardinals hear preacher on challenges for new pope (CathNews, 15/4/05)
18 Dec 2006
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia