Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Toronto

Cardinal Collins: ‘Evil’ must be rooted out to renew Church

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  • August 23, 2018

The “evil” in the Church can and must be “rooted out,” Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins says.

In an Aug. 23 letter to the faithful of the archdiocese, Collins responded to the recent revelations of clerical sex abuse and cover-up in the Pennsylvania grand jury report with a call for Catholics to pray for the victims.

“Once in the open, evil can be rooted out,” wrote Collins. “That must happen. Then new life can begin, the life of joyful holiness to which Jesus invites us all.”

The grand jury report detailed allegations against more than 300 priests in cases involving over 1,000 children with six dioceses in Pennsylvania. Pope Francis said “no effort must be spared” to prevent future cases of abuse.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also responded to the report, saying in a Aug. 20 release that “Catholics across our country are rightly ashamed and saddened” by the findings.

Collins said there must be a “culture of accountability” for Church leaders.

“To our shame, some clergy have used the gift of the holy priesthood to betray innocent young lives through abuse and control,” he wrote. “We have seen examples of this even among bishops; a sickening display of power, lust and self-centredness.”

Bishops, he said, must be a model for priests and lead by example “through a life centred on Jesus.”

“We must also regain the trust that has been broken among many who have turned away from the Church on learning of these scandals around the world,” he said, “and even more among faithful practising Catholics who are rightly enraged by incidences of abuse and the failure to deal with them.”

Collins pointed out that since the late 1980s, the Church in Canada has been taken measures to address abuse. In Toronto, the archdiocese created a Safe Environment Policy, which includes extensive screening for those involved in ministry and procedures to deal with alleged misconduct.

“The program of formation and discernment has been deepened and lengthened so that those who are ordained are prepared well to serve us as happy, healthy and holy priests,” said Collins. 

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