BY STAFF REPORTER
THE WORLD’S clergy have been invited to Rome to celebrate the end of the Year for Priests.
Cardinal Claudio Hummes called on priests to converge on St Peter’s Square for the concluding ceremonies of the Year for Priests so as to “show themselves ready and un-intimidated” to serve humanity.
A large and visible presence of priests in the square “will be a proclamation before the modern world of their being sent not to condemn the world, but to save it”, said the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
Priests should also attend the concluding ceremonies from June 9-11 to show Pope Benedict their solidarity and support, he wrote. The cardinal said that the Pope had been unjustly attacked for his handling of clerics involved in the sexual abuse of minors because no one has done as much as Pope Benedict “to condemn and combat properly such crimes”. “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,” he wrote.
The Catholic Church is determined not to hide or minimise the “horrible” crime of the sexual abuse of minors by priests, he said.
Cardinal Hummes said members of Church “are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended rights”.
Even though a proportionately small number of Catholic priests are guilty of abuse, these “horrible and most serious crimes” must be condemned and admonished “in an absolute and uncompromising manner”, wrote Cardinal Hummes.
“Those individuals must answer for their actions before God and before tribunals, including the civil courts,” he wrote. Yet people also should pray that those guilty of abuse achieve conversion.