Browsing News Entries

Bishop who ministered to indigenous Peruvians dies at 84

Callao, Peru, Aug 20, 2018 / 04:25 pm (ACI Prensa).- The bishop emeritus of Callao, Peru died Sunday at the Deusto Passionist community in Bilbao, Spain, where he had resided since 2015. He was 84 years old.

Bishop Emeritus Miguel Irizar Campos “was characterized by a missionary personality,” said a communique from the coastal Peruvian Diocese of Callao, responding to the prelate’s death.

“Callao will remember Bishop Miguel Irizar as a pastor close to his people and faithful to the mission, with his episcopal motto 'Sent to give the Good News.'”

The Diocese of Bilbao, where Irizar lived out his last years, described the bishop as a man who was able to fit in anywhere. During more than 50 years of service in Peru, including 17 years ministering to the indigenous population in the jungle, he proved himself to be a “people’s pastor,” the diocese said.

While in recent years his health had declined, Irizar’s Passionist brothers described the late bishop as “optimistic and a person close to others.”

Born May 7, 1934 in Spain's Basque country, Irizar was ordained a priest March 16, 1957 at the shrine of the Virgin of Aránzazu, where his mother had consecrated him to God years before.

He arrived in Peru in 1960 and began his pastoral work there at the Virgin of Pilar parish in the San Isidro district.

Between 1961 and 1965, he was professor of the Social Doctrine of the Church and Ethics at the Catholic University of Peru. From 1969 to 1972, he was the Regional Superior of the Passionist Congregation in Peru.

Blessed Paul VI named him the Missionary Bishop of the Yurimaguas Vicariate (Upper Amazon Province), and he was consecrated a bishop on July 25, 1972.

Pope John Paul II appointed him in 1989 as Coadjutor Bishop of Callao, the diocese he took full possession of on August 17, 1995.

Irizar promoted the creation of new parishes and founded the first monastery of Discalced Carmelites in Callao. He ordained more than 100 priests and received seminarians from other ecclesiastical jurisdictions for formation in the Heart of Christ diocesan seminary.

The bishop also promoted the Pachacútec Foundation, through which the Center for Community Studies and Development was created. Today, thousands of low income children, youths and families benefit from the center’s large educational complex.

Irizar was the Secretary General of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference for two periods. He also served as president of Caritas Peru, and a member of the Cor Unum Pontifical Council, and headed the Council of Latin American Bishops’ ecclesial movement section.

Bishop Irizar’s funeral was celebrated Aug. 20 in the parish of Pasión and San Felicísimo in the Deusto district of Bilbao. Local Bishop Mario Iceta presided over the Mass.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Bishop's murder draws attention to tensions in Coptic Orthodox Church

Alexandria, Egypt, Aug 20, 2018 / 02:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Last month's murder of Bishop Epiphanius, the abbot of St. Macarius Monastery in the Egyptian desert, has highlighted tension in the Coptic Orthodox Church over monasticism, ecumenism, and reform.

Bishop Epiphanius' body was found July 29, with injuries to his head and back that suggest that he had been hit by a sharp object.

Isaiah al-Makary, whose name in the world is Wael Saad, was charged with the bishop's murder Aug. 11, and confessed to the murder the following day. Saad said another monk, Faltaous al-Makary (Raymond Rasmi Mansour), assisted in the crime. Faltaous attempted suicide in recent weeks, and was being treated at a Cairo hospital.

Saad was expelled from the monastery Aug. 5, for “inappropriate actions which violate monastic behavior and way of life.” The Coptic Orthodox Church said that his dismissal had been decided on before the bishop's death.

Bishop Epiphanius' murder has led to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate issuing several decrees on monasticism.

Tawadros II, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, announced Aug. 1 that the Church's monasteries would stop accepting new brothers for one year. Those who established monasteries unapproved by the patriarchate will be stripped of their priesthood and monastic state. No new monasteries may be founded except as a revival of old monasteries, and this is to be done under the care of a recognized monastery.

The Church has also instructed its monks to close their social media accounts, and has suspended the ordination of monks for three years. Permissions for monks to attend outside functions is also being restricted.

And on Aug. 16, the Church announced that unrecognized monasteries have one month to submit to the supervision of the patriarchate. This will allow Tawadros “to supervise spiritual, financial, and managerial aspects,” the Egypt Independent reported.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church, meaning it rejected the 451 Council of Chalcedon, and its followers had historically been considered monophysites – those who believe Christ has only one nature – by Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, though they are not considered so any longer.

Samuel Tadros, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the New York Times that Bishop Epiphanius was “a senior figure in a reformist Coptic movement” that has been favored under Tawadros.

“His appointment, in May, to position in which he would work as a liaison with the Catholic Church was seen as a sign that conservatives were being sidelined, Mr. Tadros said.”

Pope Francis visited Egypt last year, and signed a joint declaration with Tawadros announcing that their Churches will recognize the validity of each other's baptisms.

Previously, the Coptic Orthodox Church had repeated baptism if a Catholic had sought to join it.

Conservative members of the Coptic Orthodox Church have reportedly resisted such reforms under Tawadros. According to a commentary by Engy Magdy in the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn's The Tablet, these conservatives are associated with Shenouda III, the immediate predecessor of Tawadros as Coptic Orthodox Patriarch.

The dispute goes back to tensions between Shenouda and Fr. Matta El Meskeen.

Fr. Matta was tasked by Cyril VI in 1969 with reviving monastic life at St. Macarius Monastery. The monk was focused on the spiritual life, openness to the thought of other Churches, and ressourcement.

While Shenouda was a disciple of Fr. Matta early on, after he was elected Pope of Alexandria in 1971 the two came into conflict. Shenouda restricted Fr. Matta to his monastery, and discouraged the reading of his books, according to an essay by Mina Thabet in Middle East Eye.

It was during this time, in 1984, that Epiphanius joined St. Macarius and became a monk. Epiphanius was a disciple of Fr. Matta, and was involved in ecumenism.

Fr. Matta died in 2006.

St. Macarius Monastery was long independent of the Coptic Orthodox hierarchy, but Shenouda restored it under the Church's authority in 2009, and appointed some 70 conservative monks, among them Saad and Faltaous.

In the year after Shenouda's 2012 death, Epiphanius was elected abbot of St. Macarius, and consecrated a bishop.

The murder of Bishop Epiphanius in his cell at St. Macarius may well only heighten tensions within the Coptic Orthodox Church, especially as Tawadros continues to extend his oversight of the monasteries in the desert of Egypt.

Pope calls entire Church to pray and fast after clerical sex abuse revelations

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2018 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis called Monday for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.

“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God,” Francis wrote Aug. 20.

In a letter to the entire Church following widespread revelations of clerical sex abuse in the Church in the United States, the pope invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.”

“This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he said. “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”

In the letter, Francis acknowledged the recent publication of a report detailing abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, which included more than 300 priests and 1,000 victims, over a period of around 70 years.

Recognizing the deep pain and suffering endured by many minors who have experienced sexual abuse, or the abuse of power or conscience, at the hands of clerics, he said no effort to seek pardon or to repair the harm will ever be enough.

“Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,” he stated.

He said the words of St. Paul, that “‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’… forcefully echo” in his heart.

The pope also emphasized that he thinks a conversion of the Church is “impossible” if it does not include the “active participation” of all the members of the Church, and he criticized the silencing or ignoring of some Catholics through the creation of elitist groups or projects.

In particular, all forms of clericalism should be rejected, he said, because clericalism undervalues baptismal grace and can lead to abuses by Church authority. Clericalism causes “an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”

Voicing strong support for all the victims of clerical sex abuse and for their families, he said though most of the cases recently come to light, “belong to the past,” as time goes on the pain of the victims has come to be more known.

He said the gravity and extent to which clerical sexual abuse of minors and other abuse has happened takes “coming to grips… in a comprehensive and communal way,” and while conversion requires acknowledgment of the truth, it is “not enough.”

“This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does… to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help,” he stated.

The penitential aspect of fasting will help Catholics to come before the Lord “as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion,” so that actions “attuned to the Gospel” can follow, he explained.

He prayed that fasting and prayer will open people’s ears to the pain of children, young people, and the disabled, that it will make Catholics “hunger and thirst for justice,” and impel the Church “to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.”

“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” he continued.

“Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said. “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Pope calls entire Church to pray and fast after clerical sex abuse revelations

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2018 / 06:55 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis called Monday for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.

Welcoming pope's letter on abuse, head of US bishops pledges action

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2018 / 06:03 pm (EWTN News/CNA).-

St. Bernard de Clairvaux

On August 20 the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church thanks to his writings and sermons which greatly influenced Europe during the 12th century, and his numerous efforts which helped to avoid a schism in the Church in 1130.Born in 1090, Bernard spent his early years near Dijon, France before leaving to joining the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced his brothers, his uncle, and many of his friends to join him at the abbey.Bernard first entered the abbey at Citeaux, but only three years later was sent with 12 other monks to establish another monastery in the Diocese of Champagne. The monastery came to be known Clairvaux (Valley of Light). He led the other monks there as the abbot for the rest of his life.St. Bernard knew how to harmonize the contemplative life with important missionary work, as the Pope noted in 2006. However, the saint’s strict observance of silence and contemplation did not impede him from living a very intense apostolic life. His humility and his commitment to tame his impetuous temperament were exemplary, he said.The Pope also highlighted the saint’s focus on the truth that God, who is love, created mankind out of love and that man’s salvation consists of adhering firmly to Divine love, revealed through the crucified and risen Christ. “The richness of St. Bernard’s preaching and his theology were not in pursuing new paths, the Pope said, but in succeeding to propose the truth of the faith in a clear and incisive way so as to fascinate the listener and lead the person to prayer.�St. Bernard is also well-known for his Marian devotion, especially in using and promoting the "Memorare" prayer.  He became widely known throughout Europe and was consulted by Popes and political leaders. He died in 1153 and was canonized less than three decades later in 1174.In August 2008, Pope Benedict spoke of the saint during his weekly general audience.  He recalled that Pope Pius VIII labeled the “Honey-Sweet Doctor� for his eloquence and that he traveled throughout Europe defending the Christian faith.  Benedict XVI added, “He was also remembered as a Doctor of Mariology, not because he wrote extensively on Our Lady, but because he understood her essential role in the Church, presenting her as the perfect model of the monastic life and of every other form of the Christian life.�

How a teen who fought a tumor showed 'you can be holy living your daily life'

Madrid, Spain, Aug 19, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- A young woman whose cause for sainthood is being considered by the Church demonstrated by her life that “you can be holy living your daily life,” according to one of her closest friends.

Alexia González-Barros was recently declared “venerable” by Pope Francis, a step in the Church process that could lead to canonization. González-Barros died in 1985 at the age of 14, after a ten-month battle with cancer.

Begoña Hernandez, Alexia's classmate and one of her best friends, recalled that the youth lived out her illness “with joy” and trust in God. Hernandez said that she had the “conviction that [González-Barros] was a saint” from the moment that she died in 1985.  

Alexia González-Barros was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1971 and was the youngest of seven siblings, two of whom died before they were born. Her parents, Francisco and Moncha, were supernumeraries in Opus Dei.

In February 1985, she was diagnosed with a malignant spinal tumor that quickly led to paralysis. She died in December that same year, just ten months after her diagnosis, in the University of Navarre Clinic in Pamplona, Spain.

During her sickness, the young girl offered her suffering for the Church and for the pope. Several biographies highlight her fortitude, peace and joy despite the severe pain she suffered.

In June, Pope Francis recognized her heroic virtues, the first step in the process of canonization.

The friendship between Begoña and Alexia began in nursery school. “We were in the same class since we were 4 or 5 years old until she died, and we were very close  friends,”  Hernandez recalled in an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister agency.

“Alexia was a lovely person, joyful, friendly, a normal girl. I remember when I was a teenager I had a diary and I wrote down 'the people that especially help me' and on that list was Alexia. They were very simple things, but she helped me be a better person, to share with others and to not be capricious,” she said.

Hernandez said that “when we learned she could not move, all of us girls in her class went to see her. During her convalescence I continued to visit her and I sincerely say  she always exhibited joy.  With her you found peace and that was very surprising.”

“You left the hospital with joy and not with anguish or suffering,” Hernandez recalled.

A great help in maintaining hope despite the difficulties was González-Barros' mother, who “always trusted in God and reminded that we are in his hands,” Hernandez said.

During her illness, González-Barros used to repeat “Jesus I want to be healed, but if you don't want that, I want what you want.”

Hernandez said that González-Barros’ fortitude was rooted in her faith, because “she took everything that happened to her from the point of view of faith and that's is why she endured all the suffering so well.”

The process of canonization for González-Barros was opened in the Archdiocese of Madrid in 1993 and was sent on to Rome that same year.

“When Alexia died I had the conviction that my friend was a saint. Since then I have commended myself to her and I know that it has been through her intercession that she helped me on many occasions,” Hernandez said, and assured that that is a common feeling among her other classmates.

Alexia's example shows  the world that you can be holy living your daily life in a normal way. And she demonstrated that with her life,” she emphasized.

 

 

 

Wuerl cancels World Meeting of Families appearance

Washington D.C., Aug 18, 2018 / 08:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Washington has cancelled his scheduled participation at the Church’s World Meeting of Families, which will be held next week in Dublin, Ireland.

The cancellation comes after a week in which Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, has faced heavy criticism for the way he managed priests who had been accused of sexual assault during his tenure of Bishop of Pittsburgh, from 1988 to 2006.

On Aug. 14, a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on an 18-month investigation into seven decades of clerical sexual abuse allegations in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh. The report raised serious questions about Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases, including one in which Wuerl authorized the transfer and continued ministry of a priest who had been accused of committing acts of sexual abuse decades earlier.

Wuerl has denied having had knowledge of the allegations at the time he authorized the transfer, but questions remain remain unanswered regarding his management of that case and others.

The cardinal has also recently faced questions related to what he might have known about the alleged sexually coercive behavior of his predecessor as Archbishop of Washington, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In recent months, McCarrick has faced allegations that he serially sexually abused two adolescent boys, and spent decades committing acts of sexual assault and coercion toward seminarians and young priests. In 2005 and and 2007, two New Jersey dioceses reached settlements with alleged victims of McCarrick.

Wuerl, who succeeded McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington in 2006, reports having had no knowledge of those settlements, or of any complaints about sexually abusive behavior on the part of McCarrick, who continued to live and minister in the Archdiocese of Washington subsequent to his retirement.

Wuerl has faced multiple calls for his resignation this week. In fact, the cardinal actually submitted a letter of resignation to Pope Francis in November 2015, upon turning 75, the age at which bishops customarily submit letters of resignation to the pope. While many insiders had expected Wuerl to remain in his post until the age of 80, it now seems likely that his resignation will be accepted before that time.

There has been no indication from the Vatican of when Wuerl’s resignation might be accepted. However, sources close to the cardinal speculate that he might remain in his position long enough to participate in initial discussions among U.S. bishops as they begin to address the fallout from the monumental sexual abuse crisis the Church is now facing.

 Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston also cancelled his participation this week in the World Meeting of Families. O’Malley withdrew from the event after announcing an investigation into allegations of sexual improprieties at the Archdiocese of Boston’s seminary.

The World Meeting of Families is organized by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which is headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, formerly the Bishop of Dallas, and before that an auxiliary bishop, under McCarrick, in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The World Meeting of Families will take place Aug. 21-26. Pope Francis will celebrate an open air Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Aug. 26.

In Australia, Christian Brothers sex abuse settlement a first after lawsuit limits end

Perth, Australia, Aug 18, 2018 / 04:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Christian Brothers have reached a settlement with a dying 74-year-old Australian man for physical and sexual abuse he suffered in their orphanages as a child in the 1950s and 1960s.

The man, Paul Bradshaw, is the first victim to receive compensation under a new Western Australia law that removes the time limit on bringing abuse cases.

Bradshaw will receive AUD 1 million (nearly $732,000).

Before the settlement was reached, Bradshaw was preparing to testify in Western Australia state District Court about how he suffered abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage and Clontarf Orphanage.

Bradshaw is suffering terminal cancer and doctors have given him six months to live.

The Trustees of the Christian Brothers made the settlement for abuse committed by the deceased Brothers Lawrence Murphy, Bruno Doyle, and Christopher Angus.

Bradshaw said he aimed to use the funds to support his relatives.

“I will die happy now knowing that I can care for my family,” he said.

“I lived on the street most of my life and I don’t want them to go through the same thing I went through,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “I’m just hoping now that this has been settled and I can get on with my last six months in peace.”

Bradshaw’s lawyer, Michael Magazanik, said the orphanages housed the most vulnerable children who had no families or outsiders who could protect them.

“They were utterly vulnerable and the orphanages were a magnet for the very worst of the brothers, the violent pedophiles,” he said.

The lawyer said that Brother Murphy was reported for child sex abuse 10 years before he first abused Bradshaw but nothing was done.

Bradshaw reported his abuse twice as a child but his claims were dismissed. After he left the Clontarf orphanage, he told a judge about his allegations but he was accused of lying and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Bradshaw did aid in the criminal prosecution of Murphy in the 1990s but prosecutors dropped the case.

The Catholic Church in Australia in May committed to an AUD 3.8 billion ($2.8 billion) national redress plan for victims of child sex abuse in Australian institutions. The Church is the first non-government institution to commit to the fund. It will be liable for an estimated AUD 1 billion ($732 million).

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since 2012 has investigated the institutional response to sex abuse as far back as 90 years. More than 8,000 survivors of child sex abuse testified. Catholics made up about 62 percent of those abused in religious institutions.

The commission issued its final report in December.

Multiple bishops have faced trial over sex abuse allegations.

In July Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide. In May the archbishop was convicted of failing to report alleged sex abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s, when he had been a priest for only a year.

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, faces trial for allegations of abuse.

Bishop Morlino: 'Homosexual subculture' is source of 'devastation' in the Church

Madison, Wis., Aug 18, 2018 / 02:21 pm (CNA).- In response to recent sexual abuse crises, the Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, has said that the Catholic Church must renew its conviction to identify and reject sin, and admit that a homosexual culture among some clerics has caused great harm in the Church.

The bishop also called Catholics to join him in offering acts of reparation for the sins of sexual immorality among Catholic deacons, priests, and bishops.

“For too long we have diminished the reality of sin — we have refused to call a sin a sin — and we have excused sin in the name of a mistaken notion of mercy. In our efforts to be open to the world we have become all too willing to abandon the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In order to avoid causing offense we offer to ourselves and to others niceties and human consolation,” wrote Bishop Robert Morlino in a pastoral letter released Aug. 18.

“There must be no room left, no refuge for sin — either within our own lives, or within the lives of our communities. To be a refuge for sinners (which we should be), the Church must be a place where sinners can turn to be reconciled. In this I speak of all sin,” he added.

Morlino said that he had been sickened by reading the stories of sexual abuse contained in a report on clerical sexual abuse released Aug. 14 by a Pennsylvania grand jury, and by allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of serially sexually abusing two teenage boys, and of sexually assaulting and coercing priests and seminarians for several decades.

“But my own sickness at the stories is quickly put into perspective when I recall the fact that many individuals have lived through them for years. For them, these are not stories, they are indeed realities. To them I turn and say, again, I am sorry for what you have suffered and what you continue to suffer in your mind and in your heart,” he wrote.

The bishop was particularly candid in his assessment of the cause of those problems: “In the specific situations at hand, we are talking about deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics. We’re also talking about homosexual propositions and abuses against seminarians and young priests by powerful priests, bishops, and cardinals. We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all. To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further.”

"There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary," he added.

"It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held ANY of it to be acceptable — neither the abuse of children, nor any use of one’s sexuality outside of the marital relationship, nor the sin of sodomy, nor the entering of clerics into intimate sexual relationships at all, nor the abuse and coercion by those with authority," he wrote.

Morlino said that McCarrick was guilty of abusing power "for the sake of homosexual gratification." 

“It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest,” he added.

Morlino wrote to seminarians of his diocese that they should immediately notify him of any sexual abuse, coercion, or sexual immorality they might experience or witness in their seminaries.

“I will address it swiftly and vigorously. I will not stand for this in my diocese or anywhere I send men for formation,” he wrote, adding that he expects seminaries to address sexual immorality directly.

To the priests of Madison, the bishop explained his expectation that each one “live out your priesthood as a holy priest, a hard working priest, and a pure and happy priest — as Christ Himself is calling you to do. And by extension, live a chaste and celibate life so that you can completely give your life to Christ, the Church, and the people whom he has called you to serve. God will give you the graces to do so.”

He likewise called priests to notify him of abuse or sexual immorality they might become aware of.

Morlino also wrote to lay Catholics, asking them to bring forward any instance of clerical sexual abuse or immorality they might be aware of. The bishop promised to hold priests and seminarians accountable to chaste standards of behavior, and to call for reform in the Church.

The bishop asked lay Catholics to “assist in keeping us accountable to civil authorities, the faithful in the pews, and to God Almighty, not only to protect children and the youth from sexual predators in the Church, but our seminarians, university students, and all the faithful as well. I promise to put any victim and their sufferings before that of the personal and professional reputation of a priest, or any Church employee, guilty of abuse.”

The bishop concluded his letter with a call to holiness and prayer.

“More than anything else, we as a Church must cease our acceptance of sin and evil. We must cast out sin from our own lives and run toward holiness. We must refuse to be silent in the face of sin and evil in our families and communities and we must demand from our pastors — myself included — that they themselves are striving day in and day out for holiness. We must do this always with loving respect for individuals but with a clear understanding that true love can never exist without truth.”

“I ask you all to join me and the entire clergy of the Diocese of Madison in making public and private acts of reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all the sins of sexual depravity committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy,” he wrote.

He added that he would be offering a public Mass of reparation in the diocese and explained that on Sept. 19, 21, and 22, the traditional “ember days” of the Church, he would be fasting “in reparation for the sins and outrages committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy and I invite all the faithful to do the same.”

“Some sins, like some demons, can only be driven out by prayer and fasting,” he wrote.