Portsmouth, England, Aug 22, 2018 / 13:44 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Bishop Philip Egan of the Diocese of Portsmouth, in southern England, has written to the pope asking him to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops in the wake of recent scandals.
The letter was sent to the Holy Father on August 22, and published on the website of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Bishop Egan says that his suggestion was prompted by the recent scandals of clerical sexual abuse in the United States, especially following the publication of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, as well as in Ireland, Chile and Australia.
“Clerical sex abuse seems to be a world-wide phenomenon in the Church,” Egan wrote to the pope. “As a Catholic and a Bishop, these revelations fill me with deep sorrow and shame.”
Egan said that, in addition to expressions of sadness, he felt compelled to offer a more “constructive suggestion” and asked the pope if he would consider calling an Extraordinary Synod on the Life and Ministry of Clergy.
The bishop proposed that such a meeting could be preceded by a “congress” attended by, and intended for bishops but organized and run by members of the laity with particular expertise in clergy abuse scandals and in forming policy for safeguarding children and other vulnerable people.