MADRID, Spain, APRIL 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Countless bishops from across the globe have weighed in to support Benedict XVI as he is slandered by media accusations regarding the sex abuse scandal.
They agree that a campaign in under way to discredit the Church and they are calling Catholics to prayer and communion with the Vicar of Christ.
“The visible head of the Mystical Body of Christ has been mistreated by enemies of the Church, with unheard of lack of respect for the truth and with a display of incredible cynicism,” remarked Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, at the chrism Mass he celebrated Wednesday. “Behind it all we can see an attack on the Church to harm her.
“We, his children, cannot remain silent. Prayer is the main weapon that the Holy Spirit puts at his disposal.
“Let us pray for the Pope, for the Church, for the bishops, for priests and for consecrated life. […] Let us seek personal sanctity with greater force.”
The episcopal conference from Paraguay sent a letter to Benedict XVI affirming “support, communion and solidarity.”
The bishops expressed their “communion with the Pope, at this moment of pain because of the attacks he receives in his character of pastor of the universal Church” — attacks that seek “to weaken his voice and moral authority.”
In Santiago, Chile, Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz said on Palm Sunday that “some media try to strike the Pope’s good name accusing him of things for which the Holy Father never had responsibility.”
That same day, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of the Mexican diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas said during the celebration of Mass affirmed Benedict XVI has always acted with responsibility in regard to the problem of sexual abuse in the Church.
“We are suffering for the internal sins that are undeniable, as is also the betrayal of Judas, Peter’s denial and the moving away of the Apostles themselves, who left Jesus alone,” he said.
“They have even wished to splash Pope Benedict XVI with mud,” though “since he was archbishop of Munich” and “afterwards as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he always dealt with these cases with extreme care and the highest level of responsibility.”
In the Dominican Republic, the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez stressed the criteria of firmness, transparency and severity with which Benedict XVI has treated and treats cases of abuse of minors.
The cardinal said on Tuesday in a press conference in Santo Domingo that some of the media intends to underrate the facts and force interpretations.
“That’s nothing new and no one ignores that it is a confabulation of sectors of European governments and groups of the United States, which do not forgive the Pope or the Church for the firm position in defense of life and rejection of the crime of abortion,” he stated.
In Spain, Archbishop Jesús Sanz Monte of Oviedo, together with the retired bishop of his archdiocese and his auxiliary, priests, communities of consecrated life and laity of the archdiocese and the Dioceses of Huesca and Jaca, sent a letter expressing their respect and filial affection.
“In these days of profound liturgical experience, the dioceses that the Holy See has entrusted to me as archbishop of Oviedo and apostolic administrator of Huesca and Jaca have had the occasion to celebrate the Chrism Mass in the respective cathedrals. In this framework we made special mention and raised prayers for your dear person,” the letter explains.
“The testimony of love for the truth that Your Holiness is transmitting to us with depth and beauty, does not conceal the profound pain that the events that occurred among some priests and consecrated persons have caused in your fatherly heart,” they reflected. “The clear closeness to the innocent victims and the reprobation of the grave sins committed by these sons of the Church has been an evangelical example of firmness, liberty and mercy that we have recognized with gratitude.”
Together with gratitude for the Pope’s testimony of love for the truth, the letter expresses grief for “the unjust and fallacious treatment that some of the media and tendentious groups are giving your person and your long and faultless ministry as archbishop of Munich, as cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and now as Successor of Peter.”
At the chrism Mass on Tuesday in Madrid’s cathedral, the president of the Spanish episcopal conference, Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, also affirmed union with the Pope “precisely in these days in which he is so offended and attacked.”
For his part, the military archbishop of Spain, Archbishop Juan del Río Martín, manifested his communion and filial affection to the Pope in a letter, and the military jurisdiction dedicated the Holy Hour on Holy Thursday to pray for the Church.
Archbishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia of Urgell expressed in a letter to the Pope his “filial adherence to your person and your exemplary teaching, your manifest kindness and humility, and your tenacious fight against this sin that offends God and hurts his children.”
Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia reflected Wednesday that “nothing, not even the opinions of men — no matter how organized and orchestrated they are — will destroy the priestly ministry that Jesus Christ himself designed with so much love.”
In Rome, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, expressed his closeness to the Pope on Tuesday, during the homily of a Mass with members of the Italian Parliament.
“Thank you, Holy Father!” he said. “With the whole Church, and in a particularly eminent way in the present times, we are with Peter, with the great gift that God has given us in his Successor, our greatly loved Pope Benedict XVI.”