Pope acknowledges ‘bad fish’ in Church
The pope made his comments at two large events before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, a far-reaching event in the Church’s 2,000-year history.
“Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual desertification,” he said in his sermon of a morning Mass, opening a worldwide “Year of Faith”.
“We see it all around us … the void has spread,” he said.
The mass was attended by hundreds of Roman Catholic bishops as well as representatives of other Christian churches, such as Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The bishops are in Rome for a synod, or conference, at the Vatican aimed at building a strategy to bring lapsed Catholics back to the faith.
Later, on Thursday evening, the pope made an impromptu address from the window of his apartment overlooking the square and made references to the sexual abuse scandal and conflict within the 1.2-billion-member Church.
“In these years, we have seen that there is discord in the vineyard of the Lord, we have seen that in the net of Peter (St Peter, the first apostle) there are bad fish, that human fragility exists even in the Church,” he said.
“The ship of the Church is navigating in strong headwinds, in storms that threaten the ship and sometimes we have gone as far as thinking that God is sleeping and he has forgotten us,” he said.
Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago to bring the Church up to date with the modern world. [More]