Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vatican cardinal invites priests to Rome, addresses morale crisis

Vatican cardinal invites priests to Rome, addresses morale crisis
April 19, 2010
Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has issued an invitation to all the world's priests to gather in Rome for the conclusion of the Year for Priests.

In an open letter to the clergy, Cardinal Hummes says that Pope Benedict wants to ask priests to join in observances as the Year for Priests ends on June 11, the feast of the Sacred Heart. The Pope, he writes, wants to boost the morale of priests. Cardinal Hummes adds that priests should return that support, giving the Pontiff "all our solidarity, support, trust, and unconditional communion."

The letter from Cardinal Hummes is candid in addressing the damage done to priestly morale by the worldwide sex-abuse crisis. The Chilean cardinal notes that some priests "have committed horrible and most serious crimes," which the Church "must condemn and rebuke in an absolute and uncompromising manner." At the same time, he observes, "it is absolutely unacceptable to use the crimes of the few in order to sully the entire ecclesial body of priests."

"The Church, for her part, is determined neither to hide nor to minimise such crimes," Cardinal Hummes says. "Above all we are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended rights." But any fair-minded observer will recognize that the guilty prlests do not represent the whole body of the Catholic priesthood.

Cardinal Hummes also asks priests to support the Pope against public attacks, saying that they "are clearly unjust, and it has been shown that no one has done as much as Benedict XVI to condemn and combat such crimes."

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