The bishops of England and Wales asked Catholics to carry out acts of penance to help atone for clerical abuse crimes. In a statement read at all parishes on the weekend of April 24-25, the bishops said it is “time for deep prayer and reparation for atonement” of the sins of priests and other Catholics who have abused children. The bishops recommended visiting the Blessed Sacrament to pray for victims, their abusers and for church leaders who mishandled cases.
After becoming caught up in the global phenomenon of the abuse of children by Catholic clerics, the church in England and Wales now claims it has one of the toughest child protection regimes in the world. In their statement, the bishops reminded Catholics that they are “members of a single universal body” and must atone for such offenses wherever they happen. They also expressed “heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed.... We ask their pardon and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst,” the bishops said. “There can be no excuses.”