Pope’s Prayer Intention March: For Victims of Abuse
“Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but not enough”: in the month of March, Pope Francis reflects on abuse, “especially to those committed by members of the Church” and asks that we pray with him for the victims, “who have to be ‘at the center’ of everything.” At the same time, he invites the Church itself to be “a model”: whether of transparency to “bring it to light,” of “concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again,” or of offering “safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected.”
The video that accompanies his words, made by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, is a story with powerful symbolic content. It plays with the comparison of light and darkness, and narrates the uniqueness of every life and the profound suffering caused by violence. “
In response to cases of abuse, especially to those committed by members of the Church, it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but it is not enough. Asking for forgiveness is good for the victims, but they are the ones who have to be “at the center” of everything. Their pain and their psychological wounds can begin to heal if they find answers —if there are concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again.
The Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind. Nor when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions. The Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families.
The Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected. Let us pray for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.”