Penitential Act of the Holy Father
Yesterday, I met with eight survivors who have suffered abuse of power, of conscience and sexual abuse. Taking up on what they said to me, I want to place before the mercy of the Lord these crimes and ask forgiveness for them.
We ask forgiveness for the abuses in Ireland, abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse perpetrated by members with roles of responsibility in the Church. In a special way, we ask pardon for all the abuses committed in various types of institutions run by male or female religious and by other members of the Church. Furthermore, we ask forgiveness for the cases of exploitation through manual work that so many minors were inflicted.
We ask forgiveness for the times that as a Church we did not show survivors of all kinds of abuse: compassion and the search for justice and truth through concrete actions. We ask forgiveness.
We ask forgiveness for some members of the Church’s hierarchy who did not take charge of these painful situations and kept quiet. We ask forgiveness.
We ask forgiveness for the children who were taken away from their moms and for all those times when many single mothers were told that to seek their children who had been separated from them – and the same was told to their daughters and sons who were looking for their mothers – that this was a mortal sin. This is not a mortal sin but the Fourth Commandment. We ask forgiveness.
Lord, sustain and increase this state of shame and repentance and give us the strength to commit ourselves so that these things never happen again and justice may be done. Amen.