Bishop of Algarve says Church has "to assume consequences" of sexual abuse

Another dimension addressed by the Bishop of the Algarve in this message is related to the need to help the “most needy”

Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação

A “human and social wound” that “no one can stifle or ignore” and which obliges the Church to “assume the consequences”. These are strong ideas from Lent message from the Bishop of the Algarve that focuses on the recent publication of the report on sexual abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church. 

Lent, considers D. Manuel Neto Quintas, is «a favorable time, in which all Catholics are invited to purification, renewal and penance, especially taking into account «the recent publication of the report for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in Portuguese Catholic Church by the Independent Commission, at the request of the Episcopal Conference», which the Algarve prelate classifies as «a vehement call to conversion».

The Bishop is keen to highlight the «courage and decision to know the truth about this “human and social wound” within the scope of its action» on the part of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP), considering that «no one can stifle or ignore this cry» , as it is «an unspeakable reality», in relation to which «we also have to assume the responsibility that this truth claims

"With the request for forgiveness to all the victims, including those who did not have the courage to express it", he stresses.

In this sense, the Bishop of the Algarve points out three paths that he sees as mandatory.

They are: "assuming the consequences of these unspeakable acts, committed by those who should be "defenders" and not "abusers" of the most fragile, aware that everything we can do will only mitigate the suffering and humiliation of the victims", as well as " to promote training actions with all pastoral agents on this subject with the aim of creating a “culture of care and transparency” in all ecclesial institutions”.

Added to this is “instilling in Christian communities, and through them in society in general, a new sensitivity in order to prevent and denounce situations that may occur in the protection and defense of children, adolescents and vulnerable adults”.

D. Manuel Quintas also considers that we are invited, in this time of Lent, to «make an experience of overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance» in following Christ «by the way of the cross», a path that he identifies as « synodal” and conducive to “a personal and ecclesial transfiguration, only possible for those who decide to listen to Jesus and to listen to their brothers in the Church”.

Another dimension addressed by the Bishop of the Algarve relates to the need to help those «most in need», help that summarizes all the «spirituality of this time, fraternal sharing, through the so-called “Lent renunciation”, an expression of solidarity with those most in need of the local or universal Church».

In 2022, it was possible to donate around 10 thousand euros to the Diocese of S. Tomé and Príncipe.

This year, the “Lenten resignation” will support the Diocese of Viana (in Angola) and the “Missionaries of Santa Teresa de Jesus” in the “project of building a House of Formation for its seminarians (45) in the theology course”.

With regard to prayer, the initiative of the Cabido da Sé de Faro, to promote, during Lent Sundays, prayers guided by different groups, which will always take place at 17 pm, seeking to provide all Algarve Catholics with a space of “liturgy, prayer and spirituality school”.

The prayer on the 26th of February, as part of the rite of election of the catechumens, will be guided by the Youth Ministry Sector of the Diocese of the Algarve; on the 5th of March, by the Teams of Our Lady; on the 12th by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal; on the 19th by the Neocatechumenal Way and on the 26th by the Focolare Movement.