The president of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, remarked this week that in the Holy Father’s pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI teaches the faithful to not fear the truth about the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Likewise the Pontiff underscores his firm decision to confront this issue without excuses or cover-ups.
Cardinal Bagnasco made his statements at a meeting of the Italian bishops’ executive committee, which took place this week. The cardinal said, “The more attempts there are to disparage his pure and kind character, the more the People of God view the Pope with emotion and pride. For this reason too we renew our strongest relationship, our deepest affections, and our full and solid communion" with the Church.
In his letter, the cardinal recalled, the Pope confronts the painful truth about the clerical sex abuse crisis and notes that the Church must not fall back on the "tendency to drudge up excuses for the actions of certain clergy members.”
His letter is “imbued with a sincere spirit of contrition and the unquestionable testimony of the Church, which is not on the defensive when she must take upon herself the ‘consternation,’ the ‘sense of betrayal,’ and the ‘remorse’ for what some of her ministers have done.”
“Benedict XVI leaves no room for uncertainty or minimization,” Cardinal Bagnasco said, adding that “the clear initiatives the Holy See has given for years confirm the determination to arrive at the truth with the necessary means, once the facts have been sorted out.”
“At this present time in which she feels humiliation, the Church learns from the Pope to not fear the truth, even when it is painful, to not hide it or cover it up. However, this does not mean enduring strategies to discredit her in general,” the cardinal said.
“It is appropriate, then, that we all return to calling things by their names at all times, to indentify evil in all of its gravity and in the multiplicity of its manifestations,” he added.