Saturday the 15th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

In letter, pope encourages priests dejected by abuse crisis

Pope Francis acknowledged the shame and frustration felt by priests who are discouraged by the actions of fellow clergy members who betrayed the trust of their flock through sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power.

In a letter addressed to priests around the world on 4th August, the pope said that many priests have spoken or written to him expressing “their outrage at what happened” and the doubts and fears the sexual abuse crisis has caused.

“Without denying or dismissing the harm caused by some of our brothers, it would be unfair not to express our gratitude to all those priests who faithfully and generously spend their lives in the service of others,” he said.

Commemorating the 160th anniversary of the death of St John Mary Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, the pope praised those priests who, like their patron, carry out their mission “often without fanfare and at personal cost, amid weariness, infirmity and sorrow.”

However, he also shared his concern that many priests “feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit.”

Nevertheless, the pope said, the current crisis is a time of “ecclesial purification” that “makes us realise that without (God) we are simply dust.”

Picture: Pope Francis uses incense to bless new priests before their ordination Mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 11th May 2014. In a letter addressed to priests around the world on 4th August, Pope Francis acknowledged the shame and frustration felt by priests who are discouraged by the actions of fellow clergy members who betrayed the trust of their flock through sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters).