John Lilburne's journal about the Pope's speech to the US Cardinals of 23 April 2002.


About John Lilburne



1104 K Wed 24 April 2002

The Pope's speech to the US bishops has been widely reported today. It seems to me that the particularly important parts were:

... In addressing the problem of abuse with clarity and determination, the church will help society to understand and deal with the crisis in its midst.

Something is to be done, and society needs to see that it is being done.

People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young. ...

This is not the situation today, hence the meeting. I think this is the ideal being aimed at. The next sentence is similar:

They must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life.

Not the situation today, another ideal to be aimed at, through a "renewal of the priesthood and episcopate". Hopefully the two ideals will be achieved by a purification:

We must be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community, a purification that is urgently needed if the church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force. Now you must ensure that where sin increased, grace will all the more abound (Romans 5:20). So much pain, so much sorrow must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier church. ...

How the purification will happen is not clear, but it is urgently needed. That the US cardinals have a particular role is emphasised by "you must ensure". But the purification is of "the entire Catholic community" so everyone is involved.

I think the Pope is calling for an approach which is more strict, less permissive, particularly towards priests and religious.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 24 April 2002. Last updated 26 April 2002.

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Pope's speech to the US Cardinals