Pope Benedict Thanks CBCP for 'message of support'

Monday, June 7th, 2010

MANILA, June 3, 2010- Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his thanks for the "thoughtful message of support" tendered by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to the pope over the news reports of sex abuse scandals involving some members of the clergy recently.

The pope described the negative publicity aired in media over the past few months as "purifying trials" which he believes will awaken in all the faithful a deeper thirst for holiness and a more ardent love of the Lord and his Church.

In a letter addressed to CBCP President and Tandag Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar signed by the Secretariat of State's Substitute Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Holy Father remains "confident that, by contemplating the paschal mystery of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection during the Easter season, the whole Church will be confirmed in faith and in 'the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad'" (Spe Salvi, 35).

The letter dated April 22, 2010 but was just released to the Media today assured everyone of the Holy Father's "special remembrance in prayers as he commends Bishop Odchimar and the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Philippines to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church as the Supreme Pontiff imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in Jesus her divine Son."

Odchimar, in the name of the CBCP has sent the pope a letter of support last April 8 expressing sadness over news reports against the Holy Father and the Catholic Church in relation to the cases of sexual abuses by some members of the clergy.

"On behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, I express our support and oneness with Your Holiness in your open and firm commitment to combat such abuses," Odchimar said.

The CBCP prays with everyone with faith and love for His Holiness as Head Shepherd, as he leads the Church through this crisis, he added.

Odchimar also mentioned the CBCP has "started to squarely address this problem since the early 2000s by drafting its own "Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy." He said the protocol is being used by some dioceses concerned ad experimentum while the final approval by the Holy See after its second revision is being awaited. (CBCPNews)