Message of the Cardinal Prefect
THE CONCLUSION OF THE YEAR FOR PRIESTS
The Year for Priests brings great joy to the Church and she thanks the Lord for having inspired the Holy Father to announce it. All the information which is presented here in Rome concerning the numerous initiatives taken by the local Churches throughout the world, in order to put this special year into effect, are proof of how this Year has been so well received and – we can add – how it has responded to a true and deep longing of priests and the entire People of God. It was time to give special attention, acknowledgement and commitment to the great, hardworking and irreplaceable presbyterium, and to each individual priest of the Church.
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. Those individuals must answer for their actions before God and before tribunals, including the civil courts. Nevertheless, we also pray that they might achieve spiritual conversion and receive pardon from God. The Church, for her part, is determined neither to hide nor to minimize such crimes. Above all we are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended rights.