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Feature News | Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Pope: 'Asking for forgiveness is not enough'

In March prayer intention, Francis demands answers, actions, safe spaces for victims of abuse

VATICAN CITY |  The Pope Video for March is dedicated to all the people who have been victims of abuse, “especially to those committed by members of the Church,” that they may “find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.”

Photographer:

Photographer:

The video goes along with the prayer intention that the Holy Father is entrusting to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. 

For Pope Francis, victims are the ones who should be “at the center of everything”; they are the ones who need “answers; concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again.”

“Asking for forgiveness is necessary,” he says at the beginning of the video, “but it is not enough.”

Listen, accompany, protect, repair

The path that the Holy Father proposes for responding to the abuses that have been committed must begin with bringing them “to light in society and in families.” It’s a tragedy that must not be hidden, neither in the Church nor “in clubs, or in other kinds of institutions.” It is fundamental, Francis goes on to explain, that the Church offer “safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected.”

Flowers, light, and live beginning anew

This month, Francis’ concern for victims and his call to bring cases of abuse to light are accompanied by an animated video that the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has created together with Italian artist Hermes Mangialardo. It’s a story with powerful symbolic content, that plays with the comparison of light and darkness and speaks about the uniqueness of every human life and the profound suffering caused by violence.

On the walls of a dark house, in which shadowy curtains impede the entrance of light, there hang pictures – symbolizing how each life is a work of art – which depict flowers, which wither precisely due to the lack of light. The pictures are of various kinds and colors – some detailed, others just sketched out by a child’s hand – hung in various rooms of the house: the children’s bedroom, a corner with sports equipment, the living room, etc. All the rooms, which are very different from each other, share in common the darkness that dominates them until the curtains in the living room are torn, finally allowing the light in.

The rays of sunlight not only illuminate the house, but also allow those wounded flowers – which neither the frame nor the glass have managed to protect from the violence that has penetrated deeply into their hearts – to return to life and to begin slowly to lift themselves up again, bearing their wounds with them.

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