Monday, January 07, 2008

Continuous Prayer to rid the Priesthood of Paedophilia

Does anyone know anything about this? The Times reports as follows, but I'm wary of taking what it says at face value. It has a poor record in religion reporting:
Pope Benedict XVI has instructed Roman Catholics to pray “in perpetuity” to cleanse the Church of paedophile clergy. All dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries will be expected to organise continuous daily prayers to express penitence and to purify the clergy.
Vatican officials said that every parish or institution should designate a person or group each day to conduct continuous prayers for the Church to rid itself of the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy. Alternatively, churches in the same diocese could share the duty. Prayer would take place in one parish for 24 hours, then move to another.
Vatican watchers said that there was no known precedent for global prayer on a specific issue of this kind. There are about one billion Roman Catholics worldwide.
The instruction was sent to bishops by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. He told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, that he was acting in the Pope’s name. The Pope wanted Catholics to pray for the “mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct of a very small part of the clergy”, he said.
Officials said that the prayers were in addition to support for legal action against paedophile priests by their victims and a code adopted two years ago by the Vatican to try to ensure that men “with deep-seated homosexual tendencies” do not enter seminaries to train for the priesthood.
Cardinal Hummes said that the aim was to put a definitive stop to a scandal that had damaged the image of the Church and forced US archdioceses, including Boston and Los Angeles, to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the victims. He said that the scandal was exceptionally serious, although it was probably caused by “no more than 1 per cent” of the 400,000 Catholic priests around the world.


Fr PF said...

This was an interview with Osservatore Romano following the publication on 8 December 2007 of the Congregation for the Clergy's document on Eucharistic Adoration.
Cardinal Hummes' interview can be read (in Italian) on Papa Ratzinger Blog

Mattheus Mei said...

CNS has a piece on it.... in there briefs

tdunbar said...

Here's the Jan 7th CNS brief that Mattheus refers to:

Vatican official proposes plans for reparation for priestly abuse

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A leading Vatican official has proposed a worldwide program of eucharistic adoration to seek spiritual reparation for the damage caused by the sexual abuse of children by priests. Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, said the initiative would involve dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries in a prayer movement to support priestly holiness. In a particular way, the initiative will ask reparation "for the victims of grave situations of moral and sexual conduct of a very small percentage of clergy," Cardinal Hummes said in an interview Jan. 4 with the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. "We are asking everyone to participate in eucharistic adoration to repair before God the damage that was done and to uphold once again the dignity of the victims," the cardinal said. "Yes, we wanted to think of the victims so that they feel that we are close to them. We are concerned above all with them, and it's important to say so," he said. The cardinal said that only a small minority of priests has been involved in sexual abuse cases.

bill7tx said...

I'm a little late with this. The CNS item is at

I'm no expert, but it looks like Cardinal Hummes *proposed* a program. Nowhere has Pope Benedict "instructed" anybody to do anything along these lines.