29 March 2010
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Vatican City
On behalf of the Bishops of Canada, I am writing today to assure you of our unequivocal support as we witness in the Canadian media and elsewhere an unprecedented number of reports which claim that you have not responded properly to the problems of sexual abuse of minors. We recognize with admiration and gratitude that your personal leadership in the face of these heinous crimes has been strong and decisive.
We have direct experience of that here in Canada, where our implementation since 1992 of the provisions of From Pain to Hope has received your strong encouragement and support, both before and after you assumed the Papal office. We are especially appreciative of your recent leadership when you met with National Chief Phil Fontaine, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, and others, to manifest your deep sorrow and empathy to the victims of various forms of abuse among Canada’s First Nations in our former Residential Schools. Your comforting and understanding words are still treasured by all who attended this historic event at the Vatican.
Holy Father, as we begin this most solemn week, in which we follow Jesus through the Cross and Resurrection, we assure you of our prayers for you and for those who have suffered from sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and in virtually every aspect of society around the world. We are confident that under your leadership we will move forward from pain to healing.
May Our Lord, who manifested by his rising from the dead the power of divine love over evil, give you strength during these days. Be assured that we stand with you in your resolve to lead the Church on “a path of healing, renewal and reparation”.
Sincerely yours in Christ Our Lord,
Bishop of Saint-Jérôme
(from Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops website)