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Cardinal Ouellet’s homily at prayer service in Rome

A prayer vigil was held at Rome’s St. Ignatius Church on Dec. 7 to show contrition for clerical sexual abuse. The service was led by Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who currently serves as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. Below is the full text of his homily.

My venerable brother bishops and priests and my dear brothers and sisters,

In the context of the reflection that is taking place during these days of the Symposium “Towards Healing and Renewal”, we remind ourselves that we are here this evening not only as believers, but also as penitents.

The tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Christians, especially when done so by members of the clergy, is a source of great shame and enormous scandal. It is a sin against which Jesus himself lashed out: “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Lk. 17:2). Abuse is a crime, in fact, which causes an authentic experience of death for the innocent victims, whom God alone can truly raise to new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, with profound conviction and awareness of what we do, we turn to and implore the Lord.

This gesture of purification involves the entire Church, and each one of us – Bishops, Religious Superiors, educators, all Christians – feels the pain of what has occurred. We ask that the Spirit of God, who heals and radically renews all things, come down upon us.
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Four part series reflecting on the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini begins tonight on Salt + Light

Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini has been called the most important document on the Bible in 45 years.

The Exhortation is the result of the October 2008 General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which was dedicated to “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.”

At a spring symposium sponsored by Salt + Light and Regis College in Toronto, leading Church figures and theologians addressed Verbum Domini as both a scholarly work and a popular teaching instrument. Salt + Light Television presents the major addresses from the conference in the four part series Word of God, Light of Love: Reflections on the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini.

The addresses will be broadcast on Salt + Light TV and streamed online June 7-10 at 8pm & 12am ET / 5pm & 9pm PT.

Tonight’s premiere episode features Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, speaking on The Word of God and the New Evangelization.

Visit the Word of God, Light of Love program page for a list of speakers and broadcast details.