The president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Cardinal Julian Herranz, expressed sadness this week over those who “vilify” priests by generalizing cases of sexual abuse among the clergy.
Speaking to journalists this week, Cardinal Herranz said, “These cases are profoundly sad, they are the most serious crimes that can be committed by a priest.” It is this fact which causes great sorrow to the Holy Father, he continued, “because it means a priest is betraying his vocation” and bringing hurt to many souls.
Nevertheless, he pointed out, only a small number of priests are involved in such cases, “as the statistics do not even reach one percent.” For this reason, he lamented those who seek to “tarnish the image of the Catholic priesthood and who in part are succeeding.”
The intention here is to “vilify the other 99 percent of priests faithful to their vocation, who with great generosity and desire, do the best they can for souls.” They “are working throughout the world and helping so many people in need and those marginalized in society,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Herranz added that some intend to “also damage the image of the Catholic Church, which has members who are sinners,” but stressed that “the Church is holy because of her origin, because of the sacraments she administers and because of her legion of holy people.”
For this reason, he concluded, the image of the priesthood and the Church must not be tarnished because of the “detestable crimes” of a few of her members.