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Letter of Pope Francis against sexual abuse

By ANS - Vatican City
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Mumbai, Aug. 21. (ANS - Vatican City) ''If a member suffers, all the members suffer together.'' It is a quotation from the message of Saint Paul to the Corinthians that opens the letter in which Pope Francis invites the ''people of God'' to fasting and praying for the ''crime'' of sexual abuse of minors in the Church.
The pontiff wrote directly to the faithful: ''Looking back, what we do will never be enough to ask for forgiveness.''

It is the first time that a Pope addresses a letter to the entire Catholic population on the subject of sexual abuse. The pontiff expresses himself after the new pedophilia scandal that has swept the Catholic Church: in the United States, 300 religious have been involved in an investigation, triggered by investigations begun eighteen months ago.

Pope Francis is, however, confident of the radical change of direction in progress: ''I am aware of the effort and work that takes place in different parts of the world,'' he writes, to give ''security'' and protection for ''the integrity of children and adults in a state of vulnerability'', '' as well as the diffusion of 'zero tolerance' and the ways of being accountable by all those who commit or cover these crimes.''

Together with these efforts, says Francis, ''each baptized person must feel involved in the ecclesial and social transformation we so much need. This transformation requires personal and community conversion.''

''I invite all the holy faithful people of God,'' is the Pope's appeal in the concluding part of the letter published yesterday morning, ''to the penitential exercise of prayer and fasting according to the Lord's command, which awakens our conscience, our solidarity and our commitment to a culture of protection and of 'never again' to any kind and form of abuse. It is impossible to imagine a conversion of ecclesial action without the active participation of all the members of the People of God.''
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