French Bishops Affirm Support for Pope


  • Category:

LOURDES, France, MARCH 30, 2010 ( French bishops criticized the "contemptible procedures" by which the scandal of sexual abuse is being used to personally attack the Pope.

At the end of their plenary assembly held in Lourdes, the bishops of France on Friday sent a letter of support to Benedict XVI "in the difficult period our Church is going through."

They express their "shame" and "grief" given "the abominable acts perpetrated by some priests and religious."

The prelates assured that they have "confirmed the dispositions adopted by the conference" 10 years ago and continue to "exercise vigilance."

"Those who have committed these acts disfigure our Church, wound the Christian communities and carry suspicion to all members of the clergy," the prelates noted.

They added, "Although these deeds are but the actions of a very small number of priests -- and this is already too many -- those who live their commitment to the service of the Church with joy and fidelity are also affected because of the communion of the presbytery."

Noting how "these inadmissible acts are used in a campaign to attack your person and your mission at the service of the ecclesial body," the bishops told the Pope that "we all suffer these contemptible procedures and wish to tell you that we bear with you the grief caused by the calumnies directed at you, and we renew the expression of our communion and our support."

The French bishops also renewed their "confidence" in their priests: "We encourage them in their fidelity to the gift they have received, and to the mission that Christ has entrusted to them in his Church."

Support from Barcelona

The archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, praised the firmness and severity with which the Holy Father has treated the cases of sexual abuse by ecclesiastics.

In his homily on Palm Sunday in the cathedral of Barcelona, the cardinal said that in these cases, the Pope has acted with "transparency, firmness and severity."

The archbishop reflected that Benedict XVI is more identified with Jesus Christ because of the suffering caused by this scandal.

"The suffering of the Pope and of Christians increases because, despite the criteria of transparency, firmness and severity with which the Pope has treated and treats these matters, we must lament that the prevalent tendency exists in the media to disregard the facts and force interpretations with the aim of striking our beloved Holy Father at any price," the cardinal said. "We must pray so that the Lord will comfort him in his suffering and will maintain the courage and firmness he has and breathes in all his actions."