Campus-Wide Day Of Penance For The Sex Abuse Scandal
Dear fellow students,
I am asking you to sign this petition to request to Father Dave that we have a campus-wide Day of Penance in reparation for the sins of sex abuse in the Church. The purpose of this petition, as entailed below, is to atone for the sins of our clergy, atone for our own sins, and be a witness to all who look to the Catholic Church for faith, guidance, and light. Please read carefully.
"Dear Father Dave and Father Shawn, I am writing this petition on behalf of the student body and many alumni.
On Friday, March 31st, a group of students will hold a Day of Penance on campus in reparation for the sins of sexual abuse committed throughout the Church by clergy over the past few decades.
We are asking that as the President of the school and the Head of Spiritual Life on campus, you would lead us in this Day of Penance.
This terrible crime against human dignity cannot be pushed to the side or forgotten, especially as new cases pop up yearly. The plague of this sin has infected communities across the globe, including our own university.
The Church as a whole must do penance, and if we are to be a truly Catholic community, that means us too. The clerical sex abuse crisis is an attack of the devil, and the way we fight back is through penance and reparations. These ancient practices of our Faith are directed to two primary ends: 1) united with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, they atone for sins; and 2) they help us to atone for our own sin and to grow in holiness.
The Church has always practiced penance in times of great sin. When a plague came to Rome during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great, he saw it as a punishment from God and ordered penitential processions and other reparations. Perhaps the attack on Christianity in today’s culture is, in part, a punishment from God for the crimes of our clergy. Penance and reparations are vital in doing our part to restore a healthy Church.
Penance is not done solely for the sake of one’s own sins. St. Josemaria Escriva subjected himself to penance in reparation for the sins of anti-Catholics in Spain. Our patron saint, St. Francis himself, lived a life of penance and reparations. The greatest example of all is Christ dying on the cross for our sins.
The public nature of this kind of penance is also important. Not for any prideful reason or to seem better than others, but rather to show that our school as a whole is deeply sorry for the sins that have happened in the Church, and that we are an earnest pillar of faith and light.
Furthermore, the TOR charism of metanoia is integral to our university identity. Penance is an important aspect of ongoing conversion, and we as FUS students want to radically embrace this calling in the communal aspect of our lives.
We have several requests of you for the Day of Penance. We ask firstly that any celebratory or joyful events be set aside from that day. In addition, we would like to have a Eucharistic procession around campus, ending with a Rosary and a holy hour in Christ the King Chapel. We would like every Mass said that day to be offered up as reparation for the sins of the Church’s clergy. We are also requesting extended confession times for that day, as we will be encouraging students to attend confession. Students will also partake in a long fast on the Day of Penance.
The freshman and sophomore classes in particular ask for this Day of Penance because of the effect that the abuse scandal has on young Catholics. Our peers are flooding out of the Church, in part because of the impact of these scandals on her credibility.
We desire to show God and our neighbors our contrition and our love through this Day of Penance.
Below are the names of the students who signed this petition and pledge to carry out this act of reparation."
Peter Sammons Contact the author of the petition
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