Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 November 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,
On Monday August 20 2018, Pope Francis wrote a letter to the People of God about the recent revelations of sexual abuse, abuse of power and abuse of conscience by a significant number of clergy and consecrated persons around the world. Pope Francis particularly wanted to acknowledge the suffering endured by many minors, their families and the larger community due to these crimes.

With shame and repentance Pope Francis acknowledged the failings of the ecclesial community with regard to these crimes. He wrote that the extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with it in a comprehensive and communal way. He wanted us not just to acknowledge what has happenned but to ‘take on the pain of our brothers and sisters, wounded in flesh and spirit’, and to offer those who have experienced abuse an outstretched hand of assistance. Some people have asked questions about why we should all pray and do penance when we did not commit these crimes. However Pope Francis is suggesting that we all take on responsibility for stopping this. He invites us all to work on the means to ensure the present and future safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults, and to fight against all forms of spiritual corruption and clericalism, causes of these offences. He wants us to be part of a social and ecclesial change including a personal and communal conversion to see things as the Lord does.

Such change and conversion cannot be successful if only a small group are involved in the work. Pope Francis sees that it requires the active participation of all members of the People of God to generate the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change. He invites us all to a prayer and fasting that opens our ears to the pain of those who have suffered, that gives us a hunger and thirst for justice, and that moves us to action in truth and charity to combat all forms of abuse of power, sexual abuse and abuse of conscience.

The Council of Priests spent a whole day and a half looking at this on 15th-16th of this month. The next day the Council met again, together with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Board of Administration and Te Kahu o te Rangi (the Māori advisory council for the ADW) and the Archdioicesan Directors. That day we all considered Pope Francis’ letter. As another step in this process of prayer and action, I am inviting us all at the beginning of this penitential season of Advent to use the penitential rite which follow this newsletter and with this to seek forgivenness and conversion.

A few weeks ago all the priest of the Archdiocese had a day of prayer and fasting (October 5th). I am inviting all people in the Archdiocese to pray in a special way on Sunday December 2 and to reflect on what we can all do to be more aware of this and to find new ways to work together.

Naku noa. Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.