The bishops of England and Wales are encouraging their faithful to use the four Fridays of this May as special days of prayer regarding the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy.
In a statement Thursday, the prelates said that the offenses committed by some priests and religious are “the personal sins of only a very few,” the prelates stated. “But we are bound together in the Body of Christ and, therefore, their sins touch us all. We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed. We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst. There can be no excuses,” they added.
The prelates affirmed: “Now, we believe, is a time for deep prayer of reparation and atonement. We invite Catholics in England and Wales to make the four Fridays in May 2010 special days of prayer.
“Even when we are lost for words, we can place ourselves in silent prayer. We invite Catholics on these days to come before the Blessed Sacrament in our parishes to pray to God for healing, forgiveness and a renewed dedication. We pray for all who have suffered abuse; for those who mishandled these matters and added to the suffering of those affected. From this prayer we do not exclude those who have committed these sins of abuse. They have a journey of repentance and atonement to make.”
The bishops also assured prayer for Benedict XVI “whose wise and courageous leadership is so important for the Church at this time.We commit ourselves afresh to the service of children, young people and the vulnerable in our communities,” the prelates concluded. “We have faith and hope in the future. The Catholic Church abounds in people, both laity, religious and clergy, of great dedication, energy and generosity who serve in parishes, schools, youth ventures and the care of elderly people. We also thank them.
“The Holy Spirit guides us to sorrow and repentance, to a firm determination to better ways, and to a renewal of love and generosity towards all in need.”
LONDON, APRIL 26, 2010 (Zenit.org)