During his keynote address for the opening of the 99th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic underscored the firm position of Pope Benedict XVI in response to cases of sexual abuse by the clergy, saying the Holy Father does not accept any excuses for these crimes.
During the address for which Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was present, Bishop Goic reiterated the Chilean bishops’ commitment to declare “with renewed conviction our joyful encounter with the Lord.”
He went on to thank Cardinal Bertone for his visit to the areas most impacted by the February earthquake. “You have been able to see that our people are on their feet, that hope has not diminished, that in times of anguish we are capable of working together, and that on this journey the Church’s leadership is present and permanent.”
Referring to the crisis of sexual abuse by the clergy, Bishop Goic said the Chilean bishops reiterate “our full communion with our beloved Universal Father and Pastor, who has reminded us with perfect clarity the evangelical direction we must take to treat these cases, which are always complex. They do not cease to be of the utmost gravity despite being rare.”
“For this reason we unite ourselves to the will of the Pope, who does not accept any excuses or justification for the abominable sins which must be condemned and whose painful effects we must confront, clinging to the Lord, so that never again are little ones, the favorites of Jesus, hurt in the heart of the Church,” the bishop said.
“The clear firmness and consistency of the message and actions of His Holiness Benedict XVI are proof of the path along which he leads the Church in response to these episodes."
Bishop Goic concluded by thanking Cardinal Bertone for the gift of the statue of Our Lady of Carmel, which the Pope sent to the Chilean people as a sign of his closeness and affection.