In Los Angeles today, we are praying before a precious relic — the heart of the holy parish priest, St. John Vianney. We are praying for our priests and seminarians and for the Church’s renewal in holiness. We are praying fervently also for every child and every person who has ever been hurt by a bishop, priest, or any member of the Church.
I followed this week’s summit at the Vatican closely and I am inspired by Pope Francis’ commitment to eliminate the evil of child abuse from the global Church and the wider global society. In the months ahead, I will be working closely with my brothers in the U.S. Bishops’ Conference to continue the urgent work of improving how we handle allegations against bishops and continuing to ensure that children are protected in our parishes, schools and other ministries.
This crisis in the Church is an issue of accountability and transparency. But most importantly, at its heart, this is a crisis of personal fidelity. It is a crisis of not following Jesus Christ and not living the way he teaches us to live. Reform and renewal must begin with the bishops and clergy. But all of us in the Church are called to a new conversion, to renewal of our hearts and minds — so that we live our faith with greater integrity, new devotion, and new excitement.
Let us continue to pray and work for the healing of those who have been hurt. With the penitential season of Lent beginning next week, I pray that every one of us in the Church will dedicate ourselves once again to leading truly Christian lives, returning to Jesus and opening our hearts to the holiness and love that he calls us to.