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Pope Francis: message to the Bishops of France gathered in Lourdes, “zero tolerance” in the fight against child abuse in the Church

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

Pope Francis has encouraged the French Bishops to persevere with “determination” in the fight against child abuse and to remain faithful to the “zero tolerance” policy against those crimes that have left “wounds” in the victims that “will never be forgotten”. This is according to a message signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, which was read out at the Plenary Assembly of the French Bishops in Lourdes yesterday evening. The French Bishops gathered in assembly are addressing the issue of abuse in the Church, also in light of the recent facts that have emerged and are currently under investigation. For the first time, the Bishops have also met with 8 abuse victims on Saturday afternoon. “In a context made difficult above all by the serious mistakes of some members of the Church – the message reads -, the Holy Father encourages you to persevere in the fight against child abuse, without ever forgetting to recognize and support the humble fidelity that, by God’s grace, many priests, men and women religious, consecrated persons and lay faithful live out every day”. The Pope expressed the following hope: May the need to “support and listen to the victims, whose wounds will never be forgotten, strengthen both your determination in implementing the zero tolerance policy and your work, so that each Baptised person can feel involved in the transformation of the Church and society that we so much need”. In his message, Pope Francis also touched on other issues that the French Bishops are addressing these days, particularly the accompaniment and evangelisation of young people. In this regard, he invited them to “strongly invoke the Holy Spirit” that the Church may open “new routes in line with the expectations of young people and with the search for a deep spirituality and a more tangible sense of belonging”. Finally, the Holy Father encouraged the Bishops of France to “promote the culture of encounter in society”.

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