ucanews.com reporter, Hong KongUpdated: August 31, 2018 04:34 AM GMT
Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (pictured above in this 2002 file image) has resigned over a widening sexual abuse scandal in the United States. Catholics in Hong Kong are to fast and adore the Blessed Sacrament on all Fridays in September in atonement for clerical sex abuse. (Photo by Shawn Thew/AFP)
The Chancery Office of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong has issued a chancery notice in response to Pope Francis' call for prayer and penance in atonement for clerical sex abuse.
The faithful are also invited to fast and adore the Blessed Sacrament on all Fridays in September.
Father Lawrence Lee Len, the chancellor, issued the notice to house superiors of religious institutes, societies of apostolic life and personal prelatures on Aug. 27.
"Pope Francis, a couple of days ago, decried the Pennsylvania clerical sex abuse cases. Voicing 'pain and shame' over these appalling reported crimes, he called for prayer and penance on the part of all members of the clergy," the notice read.
The Pennsylvania grand jury announced an investigation report on Aug. 14 that more than 300 Catholic priests are suspected of sexually assaulting children in the past few decades, with more than 1,000 victims. The state attorney general also revealed that these sexual assaults were systematically concealed.
The chancery notice stated: "All the faithful are also invited to join in earnest prayer to ask the Heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, to bestow His grace and mercy on all, excluding nobody from His loving gaze. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten and strengthen all who are striving, even in the midst of great difficulties and sufferings, to do God's will."
The notice said that Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung of Hong Kong has declared September to be a month of prayer and penance, with fasting and prayers of atonement to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on all Fridays.
Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, vicar general of Hong Kong and parish priest of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, posted on his Facebook page that the cathedral will hold adorations of the Blessed Sacrament from 4-8pm on all Fridays in September to pray for victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse.
Teresa Leung, a Catholic, told ucanews.com that she will fast on all Fridays. "People inevitably make mistakes, including the leadership of the church, but the most important thing is to repent and do penance, learn from mistakes and never reoffend," she said.
She admitted that it was a big lesson for the church and hoped that it would be more cautious and rigorous in dealing with similar incidents and treat victims fairly. "Covering up is like using another knife on the victim and nailing another nail on Christ, causing more damage to the church," she said.