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Journalist-turned-missionary finds happiness in evangelization

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug 21, 2018 / 08:33 pm (ACI Prensa).- Belén Manrique had a promising career in journalism, surrounded by good friends and family. But at age 30, she left her life in Spain behind to become a missionary in Ethiopia.

“I always say that the mission is never boring. It's a thousand times better than what we could imagine. It's a life full of surprises if you put yourself in the Lord's hands,” she told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister agency, during a recent visit to Rome.

“I live in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and my mission is to be a witness to the love of God there where he puts me, to build up the Church because it's very poor there. The Christian community is very weak, and so it is very important to help the people know Jesus Christ,” she explained.

Despite worldly success, “the life I led did not fulfill me,” she said. “The plan God had for me was different, and when I discovered that what he wanted was for me to bring the love of God to people who don't know him, I did not doubt God's call – it wasn't hard for me to leave my job as a journalist or leave Madrid.”

Manrique belongs to the Neocatechumenal Way, an ecclesial movement that focuses on post-baptismal adult formation. She said the movement helped her grow in faith.

“I was able to encounter Jesus Christ and realize that he's the only one who gives happiness to man. I went there where I found the mission the Lord had planned for me.”

Her first destination in Ethiopia was the eastern desert, “where most people are Muslims.”

“I realized it was necessary for the Church to come there to bring the Gospel to those people who don't know [Christ],” she said. “Ethiopia is 50 percent Muslim and 50 percent Christian, but most of them are Orthodox Christians. The Catholic Church is less than 1 percent of the population.”

“We're building a 'missio ad gentes' on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, in a neighborhood where the Catholic Church has no presence. Besides the Orthodox, there are a lot of Protestants,” she said.

Manrique’s work consists of helping out in the parishes, and talking to people. She stressed that success in her mission is “not about gaining followers but of being witnesses and making Jesus Christ known.”

“Not long ago a boy asked me: 'Can you be a Catholic without being a nun or a priest'? Most of the Catholics that have come to Ethiopia are nuns and priests, and so they have that thought.”

She added that she often encounters Ethiopians who want to leave their country, either to flee violence or because they have seen an idealized version of Europe on television, and believe life there to be luxurious and worry-free.

“Every day, there's someone who asks me to bring him to my country, and I tell them that the one who's not going back to her country is me,” she said. “I tell them that I lived in this idyllic world that they want to go to, and I have renounced it.”

“I explain that riches don't give happiness, that I had all that which they long for and it wasn't making me happy.  I'm much happier because God gives happiness and love for one's neighbor.”

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Irish bishop: Church must be unafraid to engage difficult questions

Derry, Northern Ireland, Aug 21, 2018 / 05:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Faced with daunting cultural challenges, the Church must engage in difficult discussions rather than seeking quick answers, said Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry at one of the local opening Masses for the World Meeting of Families.

The bishop offered prayers “that this week will inspire dioceses, parishes and families to build community in the face of an epidemic of loneliness.”  

“I pray that faith communities will be places of God’s hope in a frightened world,” he continued. “I pray that churches will promote a gracious way of having difficult conversations in a world where harsh words often seem to dominate.”

Held every three years at a different location, the World Meeting of Families focuses on marriage and family as the foundation of society and the Church. The theme for this year’s event is “The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” Some 37,000 people from across the globe are expected to attend the Masses, discussions and services held over the next few days, with even larger crowds anticipated for Pope Francis’ arrival at the end of the week.

Masses to launch the World Meeting of Families were held simultaneously in the 26 Dioceses of Ireland on Aug. 21. Bishop McKeown delivered the homily at the opening Mass in Derry, at St. Eugene’s Cathedral.

McKeown encouraged those attending the gathering this week to discuss major social questions, such as how to promote home environments where young people will thrive, offer healthy role models, defend the weakest in society, and develop a person-centered economy.

He said he hopes Pope Francis will ask these difficult questions when he arrives in Ireland for the final days of the World Meeting of Families.

“I hope he will ask awkward questions and speak the truth in love about how the Church needs to repent and equip itself if it is to be a credible witness of God’s mercy and love in 2018,” McKeown said.  

“I hope he will encourage civil society to look beyond the gloss and the jingles if it is to cherish all the children of the country equally. I hope and pray that Church and state learn from the mistakes of the past but not be trapped by only looking backwards.”

The Derry bishop warned that the Church must remember its mission of service, in imitation of Christ.

“Power corrupts and nourishes arrogance,” he said, adding that “Tired, hollow mantras and self-righteous condemnations serve no-one. Young people are not inspired by angry adults.”

Authentic witness is what will reach people and draw them to Christ, the bishop said. And while the “call to sanctity and to self-sacrificing heroism, to chastity and faithfulness” may not always be welcomed by society, it is the Church’s duty to proclaim the truth as it “seeks to play a positive and prophetic role in civic society.”

In a world where so many families are broken by damaged relationships, illness, poverty, and violence, McKeown said, the World Meeting of Families is a chance for reflection.

“It is not a time for quick, smart answers but for thoughtful listening. It is a moment of divine grace where we can together seek the truth that alone can set us free.”

Cardinal Wuerl's name vandalized on Catholic high school sign

Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug 21, 2018 / 04:28 pm (CNA).- A Catholic high school named after Cardinal Donald Wuerl was vandalized Monday, following continued criticism of the cardinal’s handling of sex abuse allegations during his time as bishop of Pittsburgh.

Red spray paint covered the cardinal’s name on the sign for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School on Monday morning.

Police said they received a call at 7 a.m. on August 20 about the Pittsburgh-area school’s entrance sign, which had been painted over on both sides, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Students at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School returned for the first day of classes to find someone had spray-painted over Wuerl&#39;s name on a sign outside the school. <a href="https://t.co/P9E8plLeOv">https://t.co/P9E8plLeOv</a> <a href="https://t.co/MYAwhL810p">pic.twitter.com/MYAwhL810p</a></p>&mdash; KDKA (@KDKA) <a href="https://twitter.com/KDKA/status/1031707501044133888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The vandalism took place amid a call for the school to change its name, removing Cardinal Wuerl from the title. A petition calling for a name change has received more than 7,000 signatures.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has not decided if the school’s name will change, but North Catholic Principal Luke Crawford said an executive session will be held to consider it. Recommendations for a new name would be forwarded to a group overseeing the diocese’s Catholic schools and ultimately decided by Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh.

The vandalism followed an 884-page report released on August 14, concluding an 18-month investigation into clerical sex abuse within six dioceses of Pennsylvania. The report found that some 300 priests had allegedly abused more than 1000 victims in a span of seven decades.

The report raised serious questions about Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases during his tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. In one case, Wuerl authorized the transfer and continued ministry of a priest who had been accused of committing acts of sexual abuse decades earlier.

Wuerl, who now heads the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has denied having had knowledge of the allegations at the time he authorized the transfer, but questions remain unanswered regarding his management of that case and others.

The cardinal has also recently faced questions related to what he might have known about the alleged sexually coercive behavior of his predecessor as Archbishop of Washington, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In recent months, McCarrick has faced allegations that he serially sexually abused two adolescent boys, and spent decades committing acts of sexual assault and coercion toward seminarians and young priests. In 2005 and 2007, two New Jersey dioceses reached settlements with alleged victims of McCarrick.

Wuerl, who succeeded McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington in 2006, reports having had no knowledge of those settlements, or of any complaints about sexually abusive behavior on the part of McCarrick, who continued to live and minister in the Archdiocese of Washington subsequent to his retirement.

 

Knights of Columbus announce St John Vianney relic tour

Hartford, Conn., Aug 21, 2018 / 04:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus announced Tuesday that the fraternal organization will sponsor a US tour of the heart of St. John Vianney, in the wake of the Archbishop McCarrick scandal.

“Beginning in November, the Knights of Columbus will sponsor, in cooperation with the Shrine of St. Jean Vianney in Ars, France, a national tour of the relic of the heart of this great patron saint of priests,” Carl Anderson wrote Aug. 21 in a letter to the chaplains of the Knights of Columbus.

Anderson opened his letter saying that the problems which have come to light concerning sexual abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report are cause for grave concern among Catholics and Brother Knights. Many feel deeply betrayed by those whom they long held in high regard.”

“These sins of commission and omission have sent the Church we love … into convulsions. Sadly, the disgrace not only is borne by the perpetrators, it hurts us all.”

While there are “many wonderful and faithful laborers in the vineyard of the Lord among our priests and bishops,” he said that “we have seen many other moral failings by clergy that represent a crisis of commitment to the Gospel.”

He said the Knights of Columbus “will have an important role to play in rebuilding the Church. We must commit the Knights of Columbus to work for repentance, reform and rebuilding of the Church.”

“Repentance should include a full accounting of the misdeeds by those who have committed them. Archbishop McCarrick and others at fault owe us a full account of their actions, motivations and cover-ups,” Anderson wrote.

He suggested a number of possibilities for reform, and said that such reforms “will be difficult for a Church largely unused to them, and we must support our bishops and our priests in embracing these reforms in order to rebuild.”

Anderson wrote that the Knights can help rebuild the Church by embracing “love of God and love of neighbor,” which he said is “exactly the opposite of the rejection of God and exploitation of neighbor that our Church has witnessed in these scandals.”

“In the days ahead, the Knights of Columbus will help renew our Church on a national level through a Novena of Masses in reparation for these sins that have so grievously wounded the Body of Christ. I take this opportunity to ask that you offer this Novena of Masses for our Church at your earliest opportunity.”

The Supreme Knight also mentioned programs and initiatives which the Knights have to help strengthen families and parishes.

“Now is the time for all brother Knights to stand steadfast in faith, as Catholics and as gentlemen. We will assist priests, bishops and our fellow Catholics in helping the Church chart a course for the future that puts Christ at the center.”

After religious liberty win, judge orders payment to Catholic Benefits Association

Denver, Colo., Aug 21, 2018 / 03:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal judge has ordered that $718,000 in compensation be paid to the Catholic Benefits Association after its successful religious freedom legal fight against mandated health care coverage that would have violated Catholic beliefs.

“We are proud of a result which will benefit so many in coming years,” Doug Wilson, CEO of the Denver-based Catholic Benefits Association, said Aug. 20.

“In addition to our current and future members, Americans of all faiths will benefit from the legal precedents we have achieved and from the court’s affirmation of (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).”

The payment goes to the group’s legal fees and litigation costs.

Dating back to 2012 under President Barack Obama, the Department of Health and Human Services has tried to mandate health plan coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including some drugs that can cause abortion. The Catholic Benefits Association objected to this, as well as to a counseling mandate, on the grounds it would require the association and its employer members to violate their religious beliefs.

The Catholic Benefits Association was among the plaintiffs who challenged the regulation under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which bars substantial burdens upon religious freedom.

The health coverage mandates “had attempted to force CBA members to violate Catholic moral teaching by covering contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures in employee health plans,” the association said. “Failure to comply with these morally objectionable mandates carried crushing fines which, in the case of CBA’s membership, were estimated to be as much as $19 billion.”

The association has more than 1,000 Catholic employer members including hospitals, colleges, religious orders, privately-owned Catholic businesses, 60 local Churches, and about 4,000 parishes. These employers have over 88,000 employees combined.

It filed lawsuits in 2013 and 2014 on behalf of its membership. The association was the largest plaintiff in the challenge, with more religious employers than the 100 other similar lawsuits combined.

In March U.S. District Court Judge David Russell agreed with the association’s case and issued a permanent injunction to prevent the federal government from enforcing the mandate upon it. Russell also ruled that this mandate had violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by attempting to force employers to provide contraception and sterilization against their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The companies that make up the CBA had collectively accrued $6.9 billion in fines, which were eliminated by the March ruling.

Wilson, the benefits association CEO, suggested that more religious freedom cases could be on the horizon.

“While it is gratifying to reach a successful conclusion to this issue, there is so very much more to be addressed,” he said. Wilson cited the use of other federal regulations to attempt to coerce immoral actions by religious employers, such as transgender services. There are efforts to mandate insurance coverage for clinical trials involving embryonic stem cells, while state-level healthcare mandates lack sufficient religious freedom protections.

He said his organization would continue to defend religious freedom.

“Established as an association of Catholic employers, we can engage wherever we have a member,” Wilson said. “That now includes almost every state and a growing membership. We are here for as long as it takes.”

The association’s Aug. 20 statement said it is “committed to ensuring the right of Catholic employers to provide life-affirming health coverage consistent with Catholic teaching.”

The ruling in the benefit association’s favor follows the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that closely-held corporations with religious employers opposed to the mandate cannot be forced to comply with it. Hobby Lobby is a craft store owned by Christians who were opposed to certain abortion-causing drugs included in the mandate.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic women religious who operate nursing homes for the elderly poor, also filed against the mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor were granted an exemption from the mandate, but were back in court in November 2017 to argue their case again.

Safeguarding commission member: bishops' role in crisis must be acknowledged

Vatican City, Aug 21, 2018 / 01:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A member of Pope Francis’ commission for the protection of minors said Tuesday that the role bishops and superiors have played in the crisis of clerical sex abuse must be made explicit if change is to take place.

In comments to CNA Aug. 21, Myriam Wijlens said the text of Francis’ letter on recent clerical abuse revelations “does not contain the words ‘bishop,’ ‘superior,’ and ‘leadership,’” though it was implied, but “necessary conversion requires that these words find explicit articulation.”

“It is an important step in creating a culture of accountability,” she noted. A member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) and a canon lawyer, Wijlens said for justice to be carried out, “more steps” must follow.

“Create clear institutions where complaints against bishops and superiors can be brought forward, provide for truly independent investigations, and hold those who cover up accountable,” she advised.

Wijlens, from the Netherlands, was appointed to the PCPM in February.

She noted three areas which are of concern to her as a canon lawyer: first, the formation of a culture that not only prevents sexual abuse but also the abuse of power that leads to cover-ups; and second, having appropriate ways for victims of abuse to report, be heard, and obtain justice.

“Third, see to it that accused get a just and transparent trial and those who cover up including bishops are held accountable,” she said. “Here the conversion begins: the leadership of the church must go out of its own circles.”

In a public statement Tuesday, the PCPM said it was encouraged by Pope Francis’ letter on the sexual abuse crisis and thanked him for his “strong words recognizing the pain and suffering” of survivors of abuse from members of the Church.

They said members of the commission “feel supported by the Holy Father’s call to church leadership” to implement zero tolerance and emphasized that this and accountability are foundational for the protection of children now and in the future.

In the same statement, Wijlens added that the pope’s clear connection between sexual abuse, abuse of power, and abuse of conscience means he “verbalizes what many do not want to see connected.”

She also said that asking for pardon and reparation will “never be sufficient” because it only looks at the past, whereas a “forward looking response implies asking for a radical change of culture, where the safety of children enjoys top priority.”

'Natural cycles' fertility app gets FDA approval to prevent pregnancy

Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2018 / 01:14 pm (CNA).- The FDA has approved a fertility-tracking app that boasts a lower unintended pregnancy rate than the pill, without the side effects of hormonal contraception.

The Natural Cycles app was developed by a Swedish nuclear physicist Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwizl. They created the app as a way to go “beyond contraception,” and to “get to know your body and unique cycles,” according to their website.

Berglund told Business Insider last year that the goal of the app is use scientific research to empower women with knowledge about their body, and to replace medication with technology.

In approving the app for use to prevent pregnancy, the FDA noted that its expected failure rate is 6.5 percent – lower than the 9 percent expected failure rate of the contraceptive pill, and 18 percent expected failure rate of condoms.

“Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly,” said Dr. Terri Cornelison, assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a Aug. 10 statement.

Users of the Natural Cycles app record their temperature each morning with an extra-sensitive thermometer. This data is combined with information about the woman’s menstrual cycle into an algorithm that can help determine when a woman is ovulating. A woman’s body temperature rises slightly when she is fertile, allowing her track her fertility day-to-day.

The app had already been approved by German inspection and certification agency Tüv Süd.

As of last year, the app reported having more than 150,000 users in over 160 countries around the world.

While the Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraception is immoral, because it intentionally separates procreation from the sexual act, it does approve of fertility mapping methods like natural family planning, which helps married couples achieve pregnancy – or avoid it, if there is a just reason to do so – by tracking a woman’s natural fertility.  

While fertility-awareness methods are sometimes conflated with the decades-old rhythm method – which assumes a standard 28-day cycle and has high failure rates – modern methods track specific changes in an individual woman’s body that indicate fertility, including temperature, cervical mucus, and hormone levels.
 

 

Cardinal O’Malley apologizes for missed letter on McCarrick allegations

Boston, Mass., Aug 21, 2018 / 12:48 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston has issued an apology for not seeing a 2015 letter to his office, which detailed accusations of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct and abuse of diocesan seminarians.

The apology came after media reports revealed that New York priest Father Boniface Ramsey had tried to warn church officials about McCarrick multiple times, including in the 2015 letter, which he sent to O’Malley because of his role as President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

O’Malley said his secretary Father Robert Kickham received the letter and responded to Ramsey himself, saying that the accusations fell outside of the jurisdiction of O’Malley’s office, as they did not involve minors. O’Malley said he only found out about Ramsey’s letter after the recent media reports.

“In retrospect it is now clear to Fr. Kickham and to me that I should have seen that letter precisely because it made assertions about the behavior of an Archbishop in the Church,” O’Malley said in his apology, posted on the Archdiocese of Boston’s website.

“I take responsibility for the procedures followed in my office and I also am prepared to modify those procedures in light of this experience.”

O’Malley’s lack of knowledge of the 2015 letter comes as a surprise from someone widely considered to be a “zero-tolerance” bishop on matters of sexual abuse.

As numerous McCarrick allegations continued to surface in late July, O’Malley issued a statement saying that the Church needed “more than apologies” to sexual misconduct cases.

He proposed that future allegations against bishops needed to be handled as a matter of highest priority; that a new system be put in place to handle complaints against bishops; and that these reforms be clearly announced, so there can be no doubt about how such cases should be handled in the future.

Ramsey told CBS News that accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse against McCarrick first came to his attention in 1986, and he was under the impression that “virtually everyone knew” about them, including many bishops.

"Archbishop McCarrick was inviting seminarians to his beach house...There were five beds...and there were six people. Archbishop McCarrick arranged it in such a way that somebody would join him in his bed," Ramsey told CBS.

He said that the 2015 letter contained not just rumors about McCarrick, but first-hand accounts of abuse from seminarians who had encountered McCarrick.

“I apologize to Fr. Ramsey for not having responded to him in an appropriate way and appreciate the effort that he undertook in seeking to bring his concerns about Archbishop McCarrick’s behavior to my attention,” O’Malley noted. “I also apologize to anyone whose concerns were reflected in Fr. Ramsey’s letter.”

O’Malley said that he recognized that his apology and lack of knowledge of the 2015 letter was probably still insufficient “given the way the Church has eroded the trust of our people.”

However, he said his hope is “that we can repair the trust and faith of all Catholics and the wider community by virtue of our actions and accountability in how we respond to this crisis.”

He added that the U.S. bishops are all “anxious to understand” how McCarrick became a bishop, archbishop, and cardinal if there were known allegations against him, given the vetting process that bishops have to go through before they are appointed to such positions.

“That is why the Bishops Conference are requesting an investigation by the Holy See with the participation of lay people,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley closed his apology by quoting an Aug. 20 his own letter of apology to sex abuse victims from Pope Francis: “Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sins helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Francis hopes Ireland visit will bring unity, reconciliation

Vatican City, Aug 21, 2018 / 12:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis said in a video message to the Irish people Tuesday he hopes his visit will bring about unity and reconciliation among Christians in the country.

"Although the specific reason for my visit to Ireland is the World Meeting of Families, I would like it to embrace all members of the Irish family," he said Aug. 21.

"In particular, I pray that it will serve to increase unity and reconciliation among all the faithful of Christ, as a sign of that lasting peace which is God's dream for the whole human family."

The pope will travel to Dublin Aug. 25-26 for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families. In his message, Francis said he was looking forward to being in Ireland again. In 1980, while a priest, Pope Francis spent two months in the country to try to improve his English.

Mostly speaking in Italian, Francis added in English: “I'm excited to think I’ll come back to Ireland!”

The World Meeting of Families is "a celebration of the beauty of God's plan for the family" and "an opportunity for families from all over the world to meet and support each other in living their special vocation," he said.

You all know that families today face many challenges, he stated, and voiced his hope that the meeting will be a source of encouragement to families around the world – especially those present in Dublin.

"May we remember the essential place of the family in the life of society and in building a better future for young people," he said.

The pope also thanked everyone for their work in preparation of his visit and asked for prayers for the meeting to be a moment of "joy and serenity."

"From my heart, I give you my blessing," he said, adding in English, "God bless you all. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Irish bishops and abuse survivors respond to pope’s letter

Dublin, Ireland, Aug 21, 2018 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Several Irish bishops, as well as victims of clerical sexual abuse in the country, have offered responses to a letter Pope Francis’ issued Monday on sexual abuse in the Church. The pope’s letter condemned abuse, and encouraged the entire Church to pray and fast. 

Pope Francis is due to visit Ireland this coming weekend, Aug. 25-26, for the World Meeting of Families. The trip will mark the first papal visit to the country since Pope St. John Paul II, who came to Ireland in 1979. In the years between the two visits, the Church in Ireland has been implicated in numerous scandals concerning the abuse of children and the mistreatment of unwed mothers and their children.

An Irish child sexual abuse survivors’ group, One in Four, gave a critical reception to Pope Francis’ letter, saying they were “disappointed and frustrated” by it, and that the letter contained “meaningless apologies.” One in Four also said that the letter did not contain any “concrete” steps in how to successfully combat the issue of clerical abuse.

Maeve Lewis, the director of One in Four, said that Francis’ visit to Ireland was “very distressing to many survivors, retriggering old emotions of shame, humiliation, despair and anger.” Lewis said that survivors were owed a “clear commitment” from the Church that it “finally intends to deal with clerical child sexual abuse.”

Bishop Alan McGuckian, who leads the Irish diocese of Raphoe, sympathized with some of the group’s criticisms, but said he believes Pope Francis has been satisfactory in combating abuse.

In a Tuesday appearance on the RTE television network’s “Morning Ireland” program, McGuckian said that he wished the pope’s letter had been firmer and more specific.

“I too felt when I read the letter that I wanted something more concrete,” said McGuckian.

In June, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of five Chilean bishops accused of covering up abuse, which McGuckian said he thinks is “clearly a very good sign.”

Bishop Brendan Leahy of the Diocese of Limerick acknowledged that Pope Francis’ letter would meet with criticism, saying that “there are absolutely no words good enough to adequately apologize for the abuse” done by clergy and the failure to report these cases. But the bishop stressed its release was still important.  

“It is essential that we acknowledge the darkness of what has happened. The Pope has spoken before of his deep regret, but I think it was important that he issued his letter.”

“Straightaway the opening line is striking, ‘if one member suffers, all suffer’. It’s a clarion call. There can be no let-up in our resolve and compunction to fight a reality that led to what the Pope calls ‘atrocities’.”

Holy See Press Director Greg Burke confirmed on Tuesday that Pope Francis would likely meet with abuse survivors during his visit to Ireland. Initially, this was not on the itinerary.