An hour of Eucharistic Adoration was observed in the Basilica of St. Peter's on Saturday morning in which priests, nuns, seminarians and lay faithful participated. Following the solemn event, Vatican official Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna emphasized the value of children to God and admonished those who have committed harmful acts against them.
The initiative, promoted by students from the pontifical universities in Rome, was carried out in the chapel behind St. Peter’s central altar. According to organizers, the event was held to show solidarity for the Pope, to pray for “reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the Church.”
During his homily after adoration, Msgr. Scicluna, a Maltese priest and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s promoter of justice, meditated on a passage from the Gospel of St. Mark. The reading includes the words, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
According to a transcript of the event shared with CNA by Italy’s ASCA news, Msgr. Scicluna stated that children, whom the Church has always attempted to protect, are a reminder to the disciples of Christ to look to Heaven “with a pure heart, with docility, abandonment, confidence, enthusiasm and hope.” All these things, he said, make the child “precious in the eyes of God and the eyes of the true disciple of Christ.
“How much, though, the earth becomes arid and the world sad when such a beautiful image ... this ‘holy icon,’ is trampled, shattered, muddied, abused and destroyed.”
Citing the “deep cry from the heart of Jesus" that echoes, "‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them!" Msgr. Scicluna continued the thought, saying, “do not impede it, do not be a hindrance in their path towards me, do not be an obstacle to their spiritual progress, do not let them be seduced by evil, do not make children the object of your impure covetousness.”
Referring back to the “terrible” words written by St. Mark, Msgr. Scicluna quoted St. Gregory the Great who said that any person who, having made vows to holiness, "destroys others through word or example" would have been better off having died of their misdeeds in a secular position, "rather than, through their holy office, being imposed as an example for others in their faults.
"Without a doubt, if they were to fall on their own, their torment in Hell would be easier to bear."