“I felt a little nudge from the Lord. Speak about it Paul.” Fr. Paul.
Over the last several decades, our Church, our clergy and its reputation has been tarnished by the widely publicised and horrific abuse of it’s clergy against children.
Determined to confront this issue head on and inspired by the good work of Pope Francis, Bishop Philip and many other Catholic leaders around the world, Fr. Paul dedicated today’s Mass for prayer, penance and reparation of the crimes and sins that were committed in the past by clergy of the Catholic Church against our little ones.
“We can’t diminish the insidious impact of these crimes and sins that have been committed against our little ones.” Fr Paul.
Fr. Paul tackles this difficult subject head on in the recording below, in full acknowledgement of these heinous acts but also explaining the vast safeguarding and support networks that priests have these days to prevent these atrocities from ever happening again.
Please use caution when minors are present and listening to the below recording.
Fr. Paul reminds us of how sacred children are in eyes of Jesus Christ and how we all play a part in safeguarding our Church to be safe, welcoming places of worship that we all can trust.
“‘In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3
Fr. Paul concludes by reminding us that in order for us and our Church to heal we have to be prepared to offer forgiveness. He reminds us that it is not for us to decide which behaviours are forgivable and which are not, but ultimately for our Lord.
“Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for everybody. For all heinous things that have been done, are being and will ever be done.” Fr Paul.
A Message from Bishop Philip
We believe that the Church is founded on Christ and that She is driven by His Holy Spirit. But the Church is also made up of human beings like you and me, sinners on the road to repentance and holiness. In recent years, we have all been shocked and angered to learn of the sins and shameful acts of depravity committed by leading clergy and laity from whom we ought to expect better. Some of these sins, sometimes unlawfully covered up or minimised, have been committed against children and vulnerable adults. Today, we offer an unequivocal apology to the victim-survivors who have been subject to abuse within the Church. We want to say sorry to God and we want to say sorry to them. Indeed, it is almost impossible to appreciate the profound damage and life-long suffering caused and for this we humbly beg God’s forgiveness, praying earnestly whilst seeking to help and support victim-survivors in whatever way we can.
As we begin the season of Lent, and especially during this two-year period of intense prayer for the spiritual renewal of our Diocese, it seems very important to me that we all have an opportunity to pray earnestly for the victims of sexual abuse and for the forgiveness of those, clerical and lay, who have perpetrated abuse. We can feel heavily tarnished by the sins of the few and this weight of shame and guilt impairs and even imperils the Church’s mission, or at least our ability serenely and joyfully to communicate the Good News of Christ.