Card. Gracias calls on bishops to work together and with the laity to end abuse

The Archbishop of Mumbai, accused yesterday by the BBC of superficiality against some abuses, calls on bishops to work in a collegial and synodal manner. No bishop can say: This abuse does not concern me. To favor "fraternal correction", "intercultural communication", "speed of information exchange" to "elaborate opinions and start discussions". What the Church is experiencing is useful for the world. Face the persecution together.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The problem of sexual abuse that has caused pain in victims and crises in the Church, requires all concerned to follow "the path of collegiality and synodality", with collaboration between bishops and the laity, Card. Oswald Gracias said today.

The Archbishop of Mumbai, gave the first presentation of the morning on the second day of the meeting on "Protection of minors in the Church" under way in the Vatican.  Yesterday - with the reports of the Card. Tagle and Msgr. Scicluna - underlined "transparency", listening to victims, communication; today relations are dedicated to "accountability".

In his presentation, Card. Gracias - who yesterday was unjustly accused by the BBC of superficiality towards a case of abuse - highlighted first of all the need that all decisions concerning cases of abuse involve "lay people, men and women", who are often given "an insignificant role" .

At the same time he stressed that the bishops must communicate the facts, how the issue is being dealt with, the responsibilities, even if the cases do not take place in their specific dioceses: " The point is clear. No bishop may say to himself, “This problem of abuse in the Church does not concern me, because things are different in my part of the world.” We are each responsible for the whole church. We hold accountability and responsibility together. We extend our concern beyond our local Church to embrace all the churches with which we are in communion”.

In expressing this collegiality, "fraternal correction", "intercultural communication", "speed for the exchange of information" to "form opinions and start discussions" takes on great importance.

Card. Gracias demonstrated that collegiality helps to imbue courage to collaborate with civil authorities, according to local laws: " Although the Church is not an agent of the state, the Church recognises the legitimate authority of civil law and the state. Therefore, the Church cooperates with civil authorities in these matters to bring justice to survivors and to the civil order ".

Collegiality is even more important when " when there are antagonistic relations between the Church and the state or, even more dramatically, when the state persecutes or stands ready to persecute the Church. These kinds of circumstances underscore the importance of collegiality. Only in a network of strong relationships among the bishops and the local Churches working together can the Church navigate the turbulent waters of Church-state conflict and, at the same time, appropriately address the crime of sexual abuse."

Recalling that abuse " a pervasive and sad reality across all sectors of life ", the cardinal suggested that " ou of this particularly challenging moment in the life of the Church, we— again in a collegial context—can draw on and develop resources which can be of great service to a larger world. The grace of this moment can actually be our ability to serve a great need in the world from our experience in the Church."