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Africa: Theologian Stresses Protection of Minors

‘Justice does not exclude pastoral mercy for sinners’

“The Church must not in any way be an accomplice of evil,” said father Donald Zagore, an Ivorian theologian of the Society for African Missions, to Fides News Agency, in advance of the meeting on “The protection of minors in the Church” to be held in the Vatican from February 21-24, 2019.

Leaders of episcopal conferences from all over the world will gather together with a delegation of men and women religious to tackle this tragic phenomenon and find immediate answers and solutions. “The involvement and commitment of the Church, through this extraordinary summit, shows how often the whole Church, and Pope Francis in particular, want justice to be done,” explained Zagore.

“The great challenge for the Church is certainly to protect the victims but also not to abandon the guilty. In fact, justice does not exclude mercy,” he said. “Like Christ, the Church has the fundamental mission of looking for the lost sheep, waiting anxiously for the return of the prodigal son, and to be the doctor who comes for those who are sick, the Church of honest people and even of sinners.

“For all the clerics involved, a pastoral accompaniment of listening and concern, fundamentally built on God’s mercy, is more than ever necessary. The Church should not be ashamed of her children, whose dignity has been stripped of the power of sin, but must work to ensure that in justice and in the truth they continue to feel the gaze of the merciful God on them. God hates sin, but loves the sinner,” said the missionary.

“The Church must keep in mind that sin is always lurking and that it is a permanent possibility of man. In human nature, he concluded, “the worst is not always certain but it is highly probable. Being the ‘guardian of the most holy things’ does not necessarily prevent us from misunderstanding and even abusing it.”

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