VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org): Pope Ben-edict XVI is encouraging all clergy to come to Rome in June for the closing of the Year for Priests, to show themselves “ready and unintimidated” to serve humanity.
This was affirmed in a message recently sent to all priests by Congregation for Clergy prefect Cardinal Cláudio Hummes in anticipation of the closing of the priestly year.
He said, “the Pope, Dear Priests, invites you from the heart to come to Rome from every part of the world” for the concluding ceremonies from June 9-11.
Do not “hesitate to respond to the heartfelt and cordial invitation of the Holy Father”, the prelate urged. “Come to Rome and God will bless you.
“The Pope wants to confirm the priests of the Church. “Their presence in large numbers in St Peter’s Square will be a proactive and responsible way for priests to show themselves ready and unintimidated for the service of the humanity entrusted to them by Jesus Christ.
“Their visibility in the square, before the modern world, will be a proclamation of their being sent not to condemn the world, but to save it. In such a context even a large number will have a special significance.”
Cardinal Hummes noted that the presence of priests in Rome will offer “to our beloved Pope Benedict XVI our solidarity, our support, our confidence, and our unconditional communion in the face of the frequent attacks directed towards him, at this moment of time, in the field of his decisions with regard to clerics involved in crimes of the sexual abuse of minors”.
“The accusations directed towards him are obviously unjust, and it has been shown that no one has done as much as Benedict XVI to condemn and to combat properly such crimes,” he said.
“Therefore, the large presence of priests in the square with him will be a determined rejection of the unjust attacks of which he is a victim. So then, come as well to publicly support the Holy Father.
“It is true that, albeit proportionately small in number, some priests have committed horrible and most serious crimes of sexual abuse upon minors, deeds that we must condemn and rebuke in an absolute and uncompromising manner.
“On the other hand, it is absolutely unacceptable to use the crimes of the few in order to sully the entire ecclesial body of priests. Those who do so commit a profound injustice.”
The prefect told the clergy: “The Church loves you, admires you and respects you.
“You are, moreover, a joy for our Catholic people throughout the world and it welcomes you and supports you, especially in theses times of suffering.
“The conclusion of the Year for Priests will not be, properly speaking, a conclusion, but a new beginning.
“Meanwhile we will return to the exercise of our mission in the Church and in the world with renewed joy and with the conviction that God, the Lord of history, remains with us, both in crises and in new times.”
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