Abuse crisis is like fire purifying church, says head of Canadian bishops

Catholic News Service

September 26, 2018

By Deborah Gyapong

The sexual abuse crisis is like a fire that should be left to burn to purify the church, said the president of the Canadian bishops’ conference.

“When there is a fire, our first instinct is often to try to put it out to prevent damage,” said Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec. He spoke Sept. 24 to more than 80 bishops and eparchs at the annual plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“In this case, however, we may need to allow this fire to keep burning,” he said.

Gendron reminded the bishops of St. Paul’s words, “It is better to expose works of darkness and bring them to light.”

“The fire burning in the church today may appear to be out of our control and, in some cases, consuming that which we hold dear,” Gendron said. “But as it blazes with brightness, it is cleansing and purifying, and thereby casting light on things until now hidden in darkness.”

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