Full text of Pope Francis's letter about abuse

Letter from His Holiness Pope Francis to the people of God

"If one member suffers, all suffer with it" (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul I resonate in my heart when I once again affirm the suffering that many minors undergo through sexual abuse, abuse of power and the abuse of conscience by a large number of clergy and consecrated persons.

Crimes that cause deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, mainly among the victims, but also in their relatives and in the larger community of both believers and non-believers. Looking back on the past, never attempting to apologize and repair the damage will ever be enough.

Looking forward to the future, no effort should be spared to create a culture capable of preventing such situations, but also to prevent the possibility of being covered and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and it is therefore urgent that we reaffirm our promise to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.

1. If a member suffers …

In recent days, a report has been made public that describes the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, abuse of power and conscience by priests over a period of about seventy years. Although we can say that most of these cases belong to the past, over time we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.

We have realized that these wounds never disappear and force us to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heartbreaking pain of these victims, crying out in the sky, was long ignored, kept silent or silenced. But their indignation was more powerful than any measures designed to silence it, or even resolve it through decisions that increased its seriousness by falling into complicity. The Lord heard that call and showed us again on which side he is standing. Mary's song is not mistaken and continues quietly in the course of history. For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: "He hath scattered the proud in their conceit, he hath cast down the strong of their thrones, and hath gone out to the poor, he hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich has he sent away empty "(Luke 1: 51-53). We feel ashamed when we realize that our way of life has denied and continues to deny the words we recite.

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