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

Synod group reports focus on abuse

In their first formal reports to the entire Synod of Bishops, many of the gathering’s working groups reported that they had discussed the clerical sexual abuse crisis and, especially, its impact on young Catholics.

The theme of the synod is ‘young people, the faith and vocational discernment,’ but the working group English-A, which includes bishops from England, Ireland, the United States and Australia said, ‘the context for vocational discernment has changed utterly. Our group suggests that the issue of child sexual abuse in the Church cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences’.

‘The shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial by some of these awful crimes and sins – these issues cry out to be named openly by the synod,’ the group said.

As one of the group reports released on 9th October, the English speakers said bishops ‘should not be afraid’ to share how they ‘feel about this shocking betrayal of our youth and of all the faithful’.

‘As one member of our group reminded us: ‘Trust arrives slowly, on foot, but Trust leaves on horseback! Trust must be rebuilt, one person at a time.’

Picture: Bishops pray at the start of a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican on 9th October. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).