TORONTO, JULY 29, 2002 (Zenit.org).- At the closing Mass for World Youth Day, John Paul II lamented the sex abuse scandals involving clergy. The reality of sin was also a topic that occupied cardinals who were on hand in Toronto.
In the days leading up to the prayer vigil and closing Mass, various cardinals had led catechism classes for WYD goers at Toronto-area parishes and preached about the importance of admitting one’s sins and seeking forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation.
“You take responsibility for your actions; that’s the adult thing to do,” Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, told a group of predominantly U.S. pilgrims at St. Ann’s Parish on Friday.
“Sin has consequences, even when you’re forgiven,” he said, according to a National Post report.
Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, told the young people who packed the pews at St. Matthew’s Parish that everyone is a sinner and Jesus forgives through penance.
“We stumble, we fall, we do what is wrong even though we know it’s wrong and it’s called sin. That’s the reality,” he said. Cardinal Egan himself has come under scrutiny for his handling of sex-abuse cases when he led the Bridgeport Diocese in Connecticut from 1988 to 2000.
The cardinal added: “We’re to reflect upon what we’ve done and we’re to confess it and say ‘Lord, I was wrong in this. I shouldn’t have done it,’ and here’s the most important part, ‘I am sorry.’ … There is no time Jesus Christ loves us more than when we say that.”
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, linked Friday’s theme of reconciliation to positive steps toward inclusiveness and acceptance of Christian denominations.
The cardinal, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, is a well-known campaigner for Christian unity and has done much to improve relations with England’s Anglican Church.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s reputation as a promoter of interfaith dialogue motivated at least 500 youth to come and hear him speak at Exhibition Place.
He prayed that within the lifetime of the young people seated before him, all Christians would be able to share the Eucharist.
“Can we share holy Communion with other Christians? The answer is not yet,” the cardinal said. “We cannot have indiscriminate eucharistic sharing until we have the same faith.”