Church must exit abuse scandals or suffocate

If the Church doesn’t “find a way of exiting” the negativity of the abuse scandals, it “will suffocate us”, says Cardinal Peter Turkson.

Turkson is the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development at the Vatican.

In his keynote address last week to the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI), Turkson aid he recognises the abuse crisis as one of four “signs of the times”.

He said he understood something of the impact of the scandals on the local church in Ireland after attending two world events.

One was the International Eucharistic Congress in 2012 and the other, the World Meeting of Families in 2018.

He said he noticed that at the 2012 congress that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin apologised “too much” – at every event he addressed.

“At one point I thought it was too much. I thought he was making this huge cloud hang over everything,” Turkson said.

Four years later, while attending the World Meeting of Families in 2018, Turkston said while he recognised the scandals, the pain of the victims and he agreed with Pope Francis’s messages to victims, it was time “exit the experience”.

“ …otherwise it will suffocate us,” he said.

Sr Liz Murphy, who is the Secretary General of AMRI, later spoke of Turkston’s address.

“It can be difficult for someone who has not lived through the past 20 years in Ireland to understand fully the effects of the abuse scandals.

“I believe he [Turkston] was challenging us to move forward and to be vigilant of all forms of abuse today.”

Turkson’s address to AMRI also included the topic “Mission Today in our Common Home”.

The ecological crisis and climate change are also signs of the times today, he said.

This sign “invites us to a particular form of mission that we can carry out by hearing the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” he said.

Turkston highlighted the growing inequality in communities between the rich and the poor, the throwaway culture that sees so many abandoned and discarded and the threat of war to global security.

He said Pope Francis is urging the faithful not to let fear over a lack of resources or of a challenging situation inhibit them as missionaries.

“We sin against mission when we fail to spread joy, when we think of ourselves as victims,” Turkston said.

“In the world and in the Church, we sin against mission when we become slaves to the fears that immobilise us.”


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News category: World.

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