Bishop of Portsmouth calls for global synod on priests in response to abuse scandals
A global synod on priests could help the Church to end the “terrible” scandals of clerical child abuse, the Bishop of Portsmouth told Pope Francis.
He was among bishops from around the world who called for action after Pope Francis published his 20th August letter to Catholics about the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
In an open letter to the pope on 22nd August, Bishop Philip Egan, said an “extraordinary synod on the life and ministry of the clergy” would help to combat the scourge of clerical child sex abuse.
Bishop Egan told the pope his letter was prompted by the “terrible abuse of minors by clergy” documented by the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The findings spoke of credible allegations against 301 priests and church workers in cases involving more than 1,000 children over seven decades.
Scandals in England, Ireland, the United States, Australia and Chile, Bishop Egan said, have proven that sex abuse by members of the clergy is “a worldwide phenomenon in the Church” that must be addressed.
“The synod might begin with a ‘congress,’ attended by the bishops but formed of laity and others expert in the clergy abuse scandals and in the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable,” he said in his letter.
Picture: Bishops and priests attend Pope Francis’ celebration of Mass marking the feast of Ss Peter and Paul in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 29th June. In an open letter to Pope Francis on 22nd August, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, said an “extraordinary synod on the life and ministry of the clergy” would help to combat the scourge of clerical child sex abuse. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).