Shouldn’t the ones who are actually accused, and all the ones who covered for them, make reparation, pray and fast?
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Q. The pope asked us to make reparation for the sins of the bishops and priests involved in the recent sex scandals. But why should he ask us to make reparation and do penance for someone else’s sin? Shouldn’t the ones who are actually accused and all the ones who covered for them make reparation, pray and fast?
A. Yes. Those accused and all their enablers should, sure. Most people would agree in saying that they should have done it the day the scandal broke. But if they haven’t done so yet, and even if they never do, that shouldn’t stop us from praying.
When Pope Francis asked us to unite in prayer and fasting he wasn’t saying that we should do someone else’s penance. Instead, he was inviting all the Catholic faithful to the penitential exercise of prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting is important for our spiritual growth, and can help us ease the anger we all so keenly suffer these days. God commands us to fast and Jesus Himself fasted. Imitating Christ to increase in holiness is a fundamental practice of our Catholic faith. So yes, we should all be uniting in prayer over this current crisis.
Reparation is a way to make atonement for offenses against God. In this case, if someone won’t seek repentance for their offenses, we have a duty to ask for God’s mercy on behalf of the unrepentant. When the Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima she requested we do acts of prayer and penance as reparation for blasphemies committed against her Son. When we recite the Act of Contrition, we detest our sins because they offend God.
Personally, I’ve found the Chaplet of Adoration and Reparation to be effective at easing my own sense of anger during this crisis. It’s incredibly beautiful and has its origins associated with Our Lady of Fatima. I encourage you to check it out.
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!
I ask pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”