Monday, February 15, 2010

Abusing clergy must 'admit blame'

Abusing clergy must 'admit blame'

Pope Benedict XVI speaks during a meeting with Irish bishops at the Vatican. Reuters/Osservatore RomanoRelated »
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A top Vatican official has told Irish bishops in Rome for talks with the pope on the Irish Church's handling of child abuse that clergy who had sinned must admit blame for "abominable acts".

The message came in the sermon of a mass in St Peter's Basilica shortly before the bishops began two days of crisis talks with the pope to formulate a response to the revelations of abuse by clergy that have shaken devoutly Catholic Ireland.

The meeting between Pope Benedict, six senior Curial Cardinals, and 24 Irish bishops resumed this afternoon and is expected to continue until this evening.

This morning’s session began at 8am with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica which was celebrated by the Vatican secretary of State Cardinal Bertone.

It was concelebrated by the Irish bishops and those other senior Curial cardinals who have been taking part in today’s discussions.

They include Cardinal Re, Cardinal Levada, Cardinal Hummes, Cardinal Rode, Cardinal Grocholewski, Archbishop Coccopalmeiro.

In his homily, Cardinal Bertone urged the Irish bishops to consider their trials with joy because, while on the one hand they humiliate, on the other hand they test faith, producing patience and perseverance.

He added that, for the Church, these tests “may come from outside or inside. Both are painful, but those that come from within are naturally hard and humiliating”.

He described the trials facing the Catholic community in Ireland as “a serious test” which “sees some churchmen involved in particularly abhorrent acts”.

He said “this kind of test strips us of any false security and pushes us to entrust ourselves to God alone”.

Because only if we are “true and sincerely humble” can “the grace of God act and we achieve a true rebirth”.

The Cardinal warned against the temptation to discouragement and despair touching the hearts of believers, shaking their faith and threatening their ability to trust God.

For this reason, he concluded, the bishop’s must accept Gods will with a “good and faithful heart in order to receive the full force of renewal”.

After Mass the Irish bishops went to the Vatican ’s Apostolic Palace where each met Pope Benedict in turn before discussions began, led off by the Ireland ’s Catholic Primate Cardinal Sean Brady.

The Irish bishops will stay tonight at the Santa Marta complex within the Vatican . It was built to accommodate cardinals during a papal conclave and to ensure they had no contact with the outside world.

Tomorrow morning the bishops will resume discussions with the Pope and his senior cardinals concluding around lunchtime as many bishops must return to Ireland tomorrow afternoon for Ash Wednesday ceremonies.

A press conference tomorrow afternoon will be attended by Cardinal Brady and other bishops yet to be named.

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