A Call to Fasting and Prayer for Victims of Sexual Abuse
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our Holy Father has called on the universal Church to fast and pray for the healing and consolation of those who have been sexually abused. I, therefore request that our Diocese take part in the triduum from 2nd – 4th December 2016.
Please see Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Stephen Brislin (below) as well as the document prepared by the Liturgy Commission; “Suggestions for the Triduum Prayer for the Victims of Sexual Abuse prepared by the Liturgy Commission”. (Click here for Triduum Prayer document)
Yours Sincerely in Christ.
Bishop Vincent Zungu OFM
Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Stephen Brislin
“When my people humble themselves—the ones who are called by my name—and pray, seek me, and turn away from their evil practices, I myself will listen from heaven, I will pardon their sins, and I will restore their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)
To the Clergy, Religious and Faithful
Brothers and Sisters,
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, called on the universal Church to fast and pray for the healing and consolation of those who have been sexually abused, especially women, children and vulnerable people. In response to this call we ask you, brothers and sisters, to be part of the triduum arranged in our Conference area and join in prayer for this cause and for an end to abuse wherever it occurs, whether in the Church, in the family and elsewhere in society.
We have placed our response within the international sixteen days of activism to be in solidarity with many others who have the same concerns and to make our own contribution as the Church to the efforts made within society to end this scourge which brings so much pain and humiliation to so many vulnerable people and as a witness to our common desire to eradicate any form of abuse from our society.
We ask that we unite in observing three days of prayer, one of which will be a day of fasting. This will begin with Friday evening, 2 December, and conclude with the celebration of the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent, 4 December.
We, your Bishops, acknowledge our own failures at times in adequately dealing with issues of sexual abuse especially when we have failed to listen to the cry of those abused within our own church structures and our failure to empathise with their pain.
We want to work with all structures in society and especially with our priests, church personnel and church workers in creating a safe environment for children and vulnerable people and in meeting the demands of justice in redressing the crimes and failures of the past regarding sexual abuse.
We ask forgiveness for ourselves and for our clergy for having not done enough in recognising the physical, emotional and psychological pain and trauma which many victims of sexual abuse have suffered at the hands of family members, members of society at large and within our own church structures.
We commit ourselves to following the provisions in our own church protocols for the investigation of sexual abuse within our church structures and adherence to the law of the land when crimes have been committed.
We call upon all the members of the Church, in whatever circumstance, to be part of this triduum of prayer and observe a day of fasting:
• Asking God for forgiveness whenever we have been complicit through silence in the abuse in any form of another;
• Seeking forgiveness from one another when we have neglected to defend and protect the vulnerable, especially women and children;
• Praying for the healing of victims and survivors of sexual abuse;
• Asking for forgiveness for those guilty of abuse and working together for a just response and remedy of these situations;
• Committing ourselves to work pro-actively for the safeguarding of children and the protection of women.
It is our prayer together with you, dearly Beloved, that God hear us and through the Holy Spirit, renew us in living the ways of Jesus Christ, heal the broken hearted, and send us out to sin no more.
Archbishop of Cape Town
President of the SACBC