Catholic World News

Pope comments on liturgical renewal, sex-abuse crisis, in final message to Dublin congress

June 18, 2012

In a message to the final session of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which closed in Dublin on June 18, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the intent of Vatican II to promote “the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice.”

Observing that the Church is now marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, the Pope said that in the intervening years, “it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities” regarding liturgical renewal. Today, he said, “we must learn to recognize anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone can give breadth and depth to our life.”

In his address, delivered in a videotaped message, the Pope appealed directly to the faith of the Irish people, implicitly recognizing that their ties to the Church has been tested by recent scandals. He said:

Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores. You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and His blessed Mother to many, many others.

In the sex-abuse scandal, the Pope said, that long history of faith has been “shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care.” He said that it is difficult to understand how people who received the sacraments regularly could commit such grievous sins. “Yet evidently,” he said, “there Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.”

“The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ,” the Pope remarked.


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  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jun. 19, 2012 10:53 PM ET USA

    Perhaps one reason why people can abuse others even after receiving the sacraments is because they were receiving them unworthily in the first place. If I were a priest I would drill it home in nearly every sermon that if you are in a state of mortal sin you do not get any graces from Holy Communion at all. Until priests and laity start taking seriously regular confession and WORTHY reception of Communion there will be lots of sin and evil around.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 18, 2012 8:51 PM ET USA

    Since VAT. II, a hallmark of Catholic places of worship is the dismissal of that representing the transcendant. The Council did not intend this and sadly, it bodes poorly for human nature wounded by sin. The catechism teaches that it is sanctifying grace that makes us "friends of God." Those who abused young Christians had much more going on than a Christianity that had become merely "a matter of habit." Human nature must be elevated by grace; in directing our gaze horizontally we face death.