In response to the Holy See’s publication of its report on former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, issued the following statement:
“The long-awaited report from the Holy See is an important document that brings greater transparency and accountability to the decision-making process regarding Theodore McCarrick. I am grateful to Pope Francis for following through on his commitment to make public this two-year investigation, despite its difficult content. I believe it is critical that we have an honest accounting of what transpired.
This report is yet another reminder of the sin of sexual abuse within the Church. The release of this voluminous report has rightly sparked a wide range of emotions, ranging from shock to anger to frustration. Even one case of sexual abuse is one too many. No matter one’s rank, privilege or prestige, nothing gives them the right to abuse their power.
This report will no doubt be upsetting to those who have suffered sexual abuse, as well as their loved ones and friends, given the failures and missed opportunities that are outlined. I believe this report highlights and emphasizes the need for all of us to take seriously any rumor of abuse or improper behavior.
I remain committed to supporting all survivors of sexual abuse. I hope all people of good will join me in praying for healing and reconciliation within the Church. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Scranton I encourage you to immediately contact law enforcement. Survivors are also encouraged to reach out to the Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator.
Friends, we invite you to view a special message from Bishop Joseph Bambera about this weekend’s Appeal Online Commitment Weekend.
Please consider making a gift by going to https://annualappeal.org between now and November 22 and help your parish reach its Annual Appeal goal. Thank you.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After the Vatican released its extensive report on Theodore E. McCarrick, Pope Francis renewed the Catholic Church’s pledge to uproot the scourge of sexual abuse.
Before concluding his weekly general audience Nov. 11, the pope made his first public statement on the release of the report regarding the “painful case” of the former cardinal.
“I renew my closeness to all victims of every form of abuse and the church’s commitment to eradicate this evil,” he said.
After reading his brief comment on the report, the pope bowed his head and closed his eyes in silent prayer.
The 460-page report, which was published by the Vatican Nov. 10, chronicled McCarrick’s rise through the church’s hierarchal ranks despite decades of accusations of sexual abuse and abuse of power.
Before his comment on the report, the pope continued his series of audience talks on prayer, reflecting on the importance of perseverance.
He began by saying he was told by someone that he “speaks too much about prayer” and that it was unnecessary.
However, he said, “it is necessary, because if we do not pray, we will not have the strength to go forward in life. Prayer is like the oxygen of life; prayer draws upon us the Holy Spirit who always carries us forward. That is why I speak so much about prayer.”
Jesus taught people to engage in “constant dialogue” with God not only with the example of his own prayer, but also with parables that highlighted the importance of perseverance in prayer.
Reflecting on Jesus’ parable of the tenacious person who knocks unceasingly at his friend’s door asking for bread, the pope said that unlike the friend who relents after constant insistence, God “is more patient with us and the person who knocks with faith and perseverance on the door of his heart will not be disappointed.”
“Our Father knows well what we need; insistence is necessary not to inform him or to convince him, but it is necessary to nurture the desire and expectation in us,” the pope said.
Jesus’ parable of the widow who persistently sought and eventually obtained justice from an unscrupulous judge, he continued, serves as a reminder that faith “is not a momentary choice but a courageous disposition to call on God, even to ‘argue’ with him, without resigning oneself to evil and injustice.”
Finally, the parable of the Pharisee who boasted his merits during prayer while the publican feels unworthy to enter the temple reveals that “there is no true prayer without humility,” he said.
Pope Francis said the Gospel encourages Christians to pray always, “even when everything seems in vain, when God appears to be deaf and mute and it seems we are wasting time.”
“There are many days of our life when faith seems to be an illusion, a sterile exertion,” the pope said. “But the practice of prayer means accepting even this exertion. Many saints experienced the night of faith and God’s silence, and they were persevering.”
True Christians, the pope added, do not fear anything but instead “entrust themselves to the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us a gift and who prays with us.”
Archbishop Jose Gomez called the just-released McCarrick report “another tragic chapter in the church’s long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.” It is indeed that, but it is also an unprecedented effort at transparency and openness on the part of the church.
For two years U.S. Catholics have waited for this accounting. It is a painful, at times graphic story of moral corruption and institutional mistakes. Yet this report is an important moment in the life of the church, following Pope Francis’ lead to bring the truth to light without fear or favor.
The McCarrick Report: A Tragic Chapter, A Full Accounting
Two years after Pope Francis called for a full accounting of how Theodore McCarrick was able to rise through church ranks and promised to make the report public, the McCarrick Report, issued Nov. 10, is a devastating portrait of personal deception and institutional blindness, of opportunities missed and faith shattered.
At the same time, it is also the story of an unparalleled effort at transparency, revealing a church that is committed to the accountability of its leaders at all levels. Today and in the week ahead, Catholic News Service is examining all aspects of the report. It is also reminding readers of the vulnerability of victims who will suffer further pain as incidents of abuse are brought to light.
Video report considers reasons St. John Paul II did not heed warnings regarding McCarrick’s suitability for heading the Washington Archdiocese.
SCRANTON (November 7, 2020) – The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton, has issued the follow statement on the 2020 Presidential Election:
“Millions of people across our great nation have exercised their right to vote. While acknowledging the election results are not yet formally certified, I pray for President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris. I also pray for President Donald J. Trump during this time of transition.
As a proud native of Scranton, President-elect Biden’s faith was first nurtured in the parishes and schools of this Diocese. I hope that he, and elected leaders in all levels of government, will continue to reflect upon their faith and allow it to guide their decisions as they seek to strengthen and unite our nation.
I pray that as they strive to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development, serve the poor and reconcile social injustices, our political leaders are reminded of the words that Pope Francis spoke to the United States Congress in 2015: “Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.”
Please join me in praying for our nation’s leaders, that they may find the strength and grace to help all those that will be entrusted to their care.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican Secretariat of State has sent an explanatory note to nuncios around the world insisting that when Pope Francis spoke about civil unions, he was not changing or challenging “the doctrine of the church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years.”
The note, which was not signed, explained that the pope’s remarks about gay people in the recent film, “Francesco,” come from his responses to two separate questions in a 2019 interview for Mexico’s Televisa network.
The pope’s comments were “edited and published as a single answer without the necessary contextualization,” the note said.
As Catholic News Service reported Oct. 26, when Pope Francis said gay people have a right to be in a family and that gay couples needed some form of civil law to protect their rights, he was not advocating any form of “marriage” or marriage rights for gay couples.
Yet, in his documentary “Francesco,” director Evgeny Afineevsky presented the statements as if Pope Francis had been talking about the right of gay couples to form a family, including with children.
Afineevsky, who a Vatican official said was never granted an on-camera interview with the pope, pulled the quotes about families and the quote about civil unions from the interview by Valentina Alazraki, correspondent Televisa, CNS had reported.
The clips used in Afineevsky’s film put together quotes from three separate moments of the Televisa interview, so the pope appears to say: “They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
The note from the Secretariat of State also noted that Pope Francis repeatedly has insisted that gay unions cannot be equated to marriage, pointing to a 2014 interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
In the interview six years ago, Pope Francis was asked about moves across Europe to legalize gay marriage or adopt civil union laws.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. “Secular states want to validate civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, driven by the need to regulate economic aspects between people, such as ensuring health care. These are cohabitation pacts of various kinds, of which I could not list the different forms.”
“It is necessary to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety,” he said, implying that some forms of civil unions would be acceptable.
From the unedited interview with Televisa, the pope’s remarks to Corriere della Sera and similar distinctions he has made on other occasions, the Secretariat of State’s note said, “It is clear that Pope Francis was referring to particular state regulations, certainly not the doctrine of the church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When life is difficult and when one is mourning the passing of a loved one, it is time to pray for the gift of hope and the ability to say with the prophet Job, “I know that my redeemer lives,” Pope Francis said.
Celebrating Mass on the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2, the pope said that remembering loved ones who have died is a particularly important time to “hold tightly to the rope” of the anchor of hope, which is Christ.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Pope Francis to forego his usual practice of celebrating Mass on the feast of All Souls in a cemetery — in Rome or nearby — with people who were visiting the graves of their loved ones.
Instead, he presided over a private Mass inside the Vatican, in the chapel of the Pontifical Teutonic College, then visited and blessed graves in the Teutonic Cemetery, which has existed since the Middle Ages and now is reserved mainly for the burial of German-speaking priests and members of religious orders.
Later, he went into the grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tombs of deceased popes.
The pope began his homily at the Mass by describing the hope demonstrated in the Book of Job, when the prophet is “defeated” and on the point of death. Job says, “I know that my vindicator lives” and “my own eyes, not another’s, will behold him.”
“This certainty at almost the last moment of life, this is Christian hope,” the pope said. “It’s a hope that is a gift.”
“So many things lead us to despair, to think that everything will end up in defeat and that after death there is nothing,” he said. But the voice of Job should resound in the hearts of Christians, saying, “I know that my redeemer lives.”
St. Paul, in the Letter to the Romans, says “hope does not disappoint,” he said; “hope attracts us and gives meaning to life. I don’t see in the beyond, but hope is a gift of God that draws us to life, toward the joy of eternal life.”
“Hope is an anchor,” the pope said, and believers must cling to the rope that leads to it “in moments of joy and in terrible moments.”
The kind of certainty Job exhibited is “a gift of God,” something that people cannot simply muster up for themselves without God’s help, he said. It is a gift that must be requested from God.
Jesus confirms the promise that hope will not disappoint in the Gospel of St. John, when he says, “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day,” the pope said.
Knowing that Jesus is the anchor, he said, living in Christian hope means hanging on to the anchor’s rope; “it will not disappoint.”