"The Church Loves You, Admires You and Respects You"Read the rest of the letter here at Zenit
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the letter sent to all priests by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, in anticipation of the closing of the priestly year.
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The Year for Priests brings great joy to the Church and she thanks the Lord for having inspired the Holy Father to announce it. All the information which is presented here in Rome concerning the numerous initiatives taken by the local Churches throughout the world, in order to put this special year into effect, are proof of how this Year has been so well received and -- we can add -- how it has responded to a true and deep longing of priests and the entire People of God. It was time to give special attention, acknowledgement and commitment to the great, hardworking and irreplaceable presbyterium, and to each individual priest of the Church.
It is true that, albeit proportionately small in number, some priests have committed horrible and most serious crimes of sexual abuse upon minors, deeds that we must condemn and rebuke in an absolute and uncompromising manner. Those individuals must answer for their actions before God and before tribunals, including the civil courts. Nevertheless, we also pray that they might achieve spiritual conversion and receive pardon from God. The Church, for her part, is determined neither to hide nor to minimize such crimes. Above all we are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended rights.
On the other hand, it is absolutely unacceptable to use the crimes of the few in order to sully the entire ecclesial body of priests. Those who do so commit a profound injustice. In the course the Year for Priests, the Church seeks to say this to human society. Anyone possessed of common sense and good will knows it to be the truth. ...