In the homily that I quoted a few days ago, Pope Benedict calls for the Church to do penance. Now, several blogs around the world have taken up the call. It began with an email to Deacon Greg Kandra, which he published on his blog, Deacon’s Bench.
This is part of it – go here to read the whole thing:
The Holy Father in the past couple of days has called us as a Church to penance, which is good and appropriate up to a point (because we are all part of the Body of Christ) but misdirected, I think, because the faithful were not responsible for the decisions that caused so much harm to victims and scandal. It is the bishops themselves who need to seek God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of those who were harmed because of their failure to protect the most vulnerable members of their flock from abusive priests and to implore God’s mercy on behalf those clerics who molested children and young people (most of whom are unrepentant and evade all responsibility for their crimes).
So here is my question for you. What if our bishops chose to do public penance? What if they lay prostrate or knelt in front of their cathedrals as penitents before each Mass on the weekend closest to the feast of St.Peter and Paul or on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or some other appropriate day or days? Or, even better, on the first Friday of every month for the next year starting with the feast of the Sacred Heart or Sts.Peter and Paul? And what if we, as their deacons, as an order in the Church, in all humility, not only called on our bishops to do public penance, but offered to join them in it?
The call has been taken up by The Anchoress – her commentary, given from the perspective of someone who has suffered from abuse, is great, and there are also some great comments – and also Father Z – as always, he puts his comments in red, and his respondents are overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.
Count me in, too.