“A very bad example” and “a very serious offense”, not to mention a “not positive” answer to the abuse crisis and “an unfair attack”. Not mincing his words, Cardinal Marc Ouellet has condemned the “rebellion” against Pope Francis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and his ultraconservative co-conspirators. A “serious” issue, according to the cardinal, that must be resolved in a “spiritual” way, not a “political” one.
The Canadian prelate, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican, was speaking on the sidelines of the Plenary Assembly of the European Bishops in Poznań, Poland.
“We are facing a crisis in the life of the Church”, Ouellet acknowledged, referring to the sexual abuse scandal that has exploded in the Catholic Church around the world, from Germany to Australia, and just this weekend extended to the Netherlands, where 20 of the 39 bishops active from 1945 to 2010 have been accused of the cover-up of as many as 20,000 sex crimes against children committed by priests and religious.
According to Ouellet, the sex abuse crisis is one being felt “at the level of leadership, of the bishops”. But beyond prescribing possible solutions to the problem, the cardinal went so far as to issue a clear warning to those prelates (and priests and faithful) who think that everything will be fixed by blaming, investigating or even sacking Pope Francis.
“To express solidarity with the Holy Father… is a conditio sine qua non of solidarity between ourselves as bishops to bring forward the mission of the Church”, the cardinal stressed in this regard.
“We need the participation of more women in the formation of priests”
As for what can be done to fight against the scourge of sex abuse in the Church, the Canadian cardinal spoke clearly, affirming that “we need the participation of more women in the formation of priests: for teaching, [for] the discernment of candidates, for the balance of effectiveness”.
“Certainly with the recent news there is a growing awareness of the gravity of this problem of abuse in the Church,” Ouellet continued, adding that “something more needs to be done” regarding the prevention of aggressions against young people. Measures such as, for example, the creation of common “criteria” for judging negligent bishops who engage in cover-ups and the coordination of the various Roman dicasteries so that, at long last, the dispositions of Pope Francis in his motu propio As a loving mother can be put into action.
Another key part of the reform of the Church regarding the protection of minors, added Ouellet, must be to let the “anger”, “dissatisfaction” and “frustration” of the faithful come to the surface “in complete freedom”, since that “is the way for these problems to be treated”.
“I believe that pastors must not only listen but also invite the people who have suffered to manifest themselves, because if these wounds are not expressed, they will destroy peoples’ lives”, affirmed the cardinal. “There is a work of reparation [and] reconciliation that must be carried out”, he concluded.