DATE: August 20, 2018
FROM: Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre
“I am extremely moved by Pope Francis’ Letter to the People of God. He shows so movingly the courageous heart of a pastor confronting evil in the Church with courage, determination, and Good Samaritan pastoral charity and sensitivity.
With all the People of God of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, I express my gratitude to Pope Francis for his Letter to the People of God. He confronts the horror, atrocity and culture of death of clergy sexual abuse and our responsibility to be instruments of the Holy Spirit to uproot it from the life of the Church.
With great courage and conviction, Pope Francis summons the entire People of God in solidarity – ‘if one member suffers, all suffer together with it’ (1 Cor 12:26) – to get involved in caring for survivors, preventing future abuse, and ensuring that bishops and all leaders in the Church do what the Lord Jesus and the People of God both expect of them in eradicating these abominations against those they are ordained to serve, sanctify and even die for.
Pope Francis’ call for penance, prayer, fasting and repentance is a powerful call for Church reform grounded in the Word of God, the Body and Blood of Christ, and the universal call to holiness and mission.
He asks us to stand with Mary at the foot of the Cross as we experience together the agony of these wounds of the Church. She calls us to ‘insist more upon prayer’ and seek ‘to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church.’”