Dear brothers in the episcopate: The reception last week of the final documents which complete the report delivered to me by my two special envoys to Chile on March 20, 2018, with a total of more than 2,300 pages, moves me to write this letter. I assure you of my prayers and I want to share with you the conviction that the present difficulties are also an occasion to re-establish trust in the Church, a trust broken by our errors and sins and in order to heal the wounds that do not cease to bleed in the whole of Chilean society.
Without faith and without prayer, fraternity is impossible. Thus, on this second Sunday of Easter, on the day of mercy, I offer you this reflection with the desire that each one of you accompany me on the inner journey that I have been traveling in recent weeks, so that it would be the Spirit who would guide us with his gift, and not our interests, or even worse, our wounded pride.
Sometimes when so many evils frighten the soul and throw us listlessly into the world buttoned up in our comfortable “winter palaces,” the love of God comes out to meet us and purifies our intentions in order to love as free, mature, and judicious men. When the media shames us, presenting a Church almost always in the darkness of the new moon, deprived of the Sun of justice, we have the temptation of doubting the Paschal victory of the Risen One. I believe that like Saint Thomas the Apostle we must not fear doubt but rather fear the pretension of wanting to see without trusting the testimony of those who heard from the lips of the Lord the most beautiful promise.
Today I want to speak to you not of assurances, but rather of the one thing that the Lord offers us to experience every day: the joy, the peace of forgiveness of our sins and the action of his grace.
In that regard I wish to express my gratitude to His Excellency Charles Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta and to Rev. Jordi Bertomeu Farnós, official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for his prodigious work in considerately and empathetically listening to the 64 testimonies he recently gathered both in New York and Santiago de Chile. I sent them to listen from the heart and with humility. Later on, when they delivered to me the report and, in particular, its juridical and pastoral assessment of the gathered information, they acknowledged before me of having felt overwhelmed with the pain of so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and power and, in particular, of the acts of sexual abuse committed by various consecrated men of your country against minors, those who were not taken seriously then and were even robbed of their innocence.
The most heartfelt and cordial gratitude we must express as pastors to those who with honesty, courage and the sense of the Church requested a meeting with my envoys and showed them the wounds of their souls. Bishop Scicluna and Rev. Bertomeu have told me how some bishops, priests and deacons, lay men and women of Santiago and Osorno came to Holy Name parish in New York or to the office of Sotero Sanz, in Providencia, with a maturity, respect and kindness that was overwhelming.