On Monday August 20, 2018, our Holy Father, Pope Francis issued a letter to the people of God. These are his words of the first paragraph of the letter: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of there being cover ups and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.
Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB responded to Pope Francis' letter with these words:
"I am grateful to the Holy Father for his Letter to the People of God, responding to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury investigation and other revelations that have surfaced. The very fact that he opens the letter with the words of Saint Paul: 'If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it' (1 Cor 12:25), shows that he is writing to all of us as a pastor, a pastor who knows how deeply sin destroys lives. I find these words of the Holy Father particularly helpful: 'penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people's sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.' These words must provoke action – especially by the bishops. We bishops need to– and we must – practice with all humility such prayer and penance.
"The Holy Father is also inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting as a way to help foster conversion and genuine change of life wherever it is needed, even in the shepherds of the Church. Jesus remarked once, 'This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting' (Mark 9:29); a humble reminder that such acts of faith can move mountains and can even bring about true healing and conversion.
"On behalf of my brother bishops, I offer that only by confronting our own failure in the face of crimes against those we are charged to protect can the Church resurrect a culture of life where the culture of death has prevailed."
I as your pastor of St. Albert the Great Newman Parish want to offer an opportunity to come together as a family to pray for the victims and to ask for healing. September 7 will be the First Friday of the month, I would like to use this opportunity to pray for the future of our Church and to offer the sacrament of healing through the Anointing of the Sick during our 5:30 pm Mass. Our bishop, Oscar Cantu wants to have a Holy Hour at the cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on September 10 at 6:00 pm.
Fr. Alex Ureña