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Archbishops of Halifax & Edmonton Address Abuse Scandals

Matthew Harrison

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Archbishop Anthony Mancini, the Archbishop of Halifax and Apostolic Administrator of Yarmouth, and Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton are among the bishops of Canada who have commented on the abuse scandals.  Like Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins, both mentioned it in their Chrism Mass homilies.
The Archbishop of Halifax admitted that the Church is facing her own failures and must re-focus attention on Christ:
manciniThere is no doubt that our Church is in the middle of a huge storm. From the Pope down to our local parishes, we are being hit by a violent wind of protest and criticism, and not without cause. We are being called every name imaginable and the consequences are not all yet clear – but there are effects! And we will have to face them.
The question for us all– for you the faithful, for our priests and for me – is: Do we want to deal with all the effects of this storm? Are we willing to hold on for the ride? Or do we want to abandon ship? I don’t know about you, but I can’t swim, so I’m going to take my chances and hang in there with the boat of Peter!
In consecrating the new oils of chrism, he also saw a time of cleansing and renewal:
What we are doing here tonight is, or at least should be, a turning point in our journey of faith. It is a moment when to be anointed with oil becomes a new beginning! This blessed and consecrated oil is the essential element needed and the necessary sign that our Church is in need of an oil change! We have to get rid of all the impurities which have accumulated and gummed up the inner workings of our Church. Tonight’s new oil is needed so that the motor of our Church can function without friction; this new oil can, should and must make a difference in the way all the interconnected parts of our Church relate to each other, hopefully, more smoothly and harmoniously.
In Edmonton, Archbishop Smith spoke of the abuse scandals directly, defended the Holy Father and admitted mistakes had been made:
ABSmith2webAny impartial observer can see that Pope Benedict is deeply troubled by the harm that has been done to young people. He does not hesitate to manifest his sorrow and empathy to victims. And he has clearly demonstrated his resolve, both before and after assuming the papal office, to confront this problem and lead the Church on "a path of healing, renewal and reparation" (cf. Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, 2). The Bishops of Canada affirm our complete confidence in the strong and decisive leadership he has shown and continues to show when dealing with this terrible problem.
At the same time that we stand firmly behind the leadership of our Holy Father, we also share with him the profound sorrow arising from the undeniable fact that some clergy have hurt innocent children, and some Bishops have badly mishandled their responses to these crimes. We cannot run or hide from these things, and we have no desire to do so. They need to be squarely faced with the Gospel principles of healing, truth, light and repentance.
Edmonton's chief shepherd also noted where we can find hope in times of crisis:
... we as the people of God are called at all times, especially in dark moments, to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is ours (cf. 1Peter 3:15). The answer to the question is found in tonight's Scripture readings. They proclaim that the reason for hope at all times is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our hope. So let us now do as the people of the Nazareth synagogue once did; let us fix our eyes on the Lord and listen carefully to his teaching.
Visit HERE for Archbishop Mancini's message, and HERE for Archbishop Smith's message.

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