The Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert is focusing on the victims of abuse during special church services Tuesday.
The move comes in light of sexual abuse claims about the prominent Cardinal in Pennsylvania Theodore McCarrick who resigned over the allegations last month.
“Wherever a sexual abuse has happened in the church it should affect all of us,” Albert Thévenot, the Bishop of Prince Albert told paNOW. “We are part of a family of families, so when a brother is suffering we are all suffering, and that’s what we have to feel.”
Thévenot said as part of the Feast of St. Augustine, members of the church could celebrate the Eucharist with an hour of adoration for the victims of abuse and for the entire sexual situation. The services would occur at various times Tuesday depending on the specific church.
The Bishop said abuses which have happened by members of the clergy is “totally and unequivocally unacceptable,” and “zero tolerance is our goal.” He added as the church works towards that goal it is important to listen to the victims.
“For all these people who have been abused by members of the church, be it laity or priests, we are wanting to listen to their stories and we want to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and healing,” he said. “It’s a time of reflection and to help people become more conscious of this reality that we speak about over there [the US] but is also in our home area. It’s to ask ourselves ‘Have we done everything that we could have done?’”
To that end Thévenot explained the participation of the faithful of the diocese was needed.
“We need to have the facts, and we have to respect the facts, accept them, and that’s why we need to do this with the collaboration of the people around us,” he said. “We can only have zero tolerance if some people bring us to the light, and then we can take steps to say ‘We’re really serious about this,’” he said.
Thévenot stressed in recent years the Roman Catholic Church took steps to combat abuse such as ensuring priests and laity were not alone with vulnerable people or children, and to be aware of how they touched or spoke to people.
Meanwhile the bishop would not comment on claims by a former Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. Vigano told CBS News Sunday that Pope Francis knew of the allegations of sexual abuse against McCarrick as far back as 2013 but took no action and should resign his position as pontiff.
Thévenot said he did not have enough information nor had he followed this story closely. Pope Francis has refused to comment on the Vigano allegations.
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