VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis encouraged bishops in France to be
determined in their fight against child abuse and implement "zero
tolerance" against known abusers.
The pope said he hoped their "welcoming and listening to victims"
would strengthen their "determination in the implementation of zero
tolerance and your work," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican
secretary of state, in a message sent to the bishops of France.
The cardinal's message was sent on occasion of the bishops' plenary
assembly, Nov. 3-8 in Lourdes. The message, written in French, was read
to the assembly Nov. 5 and published on the bishops' conference website
The cardinal expressed the pope's assurances of his prayers and spiritual closeness to the bishops for their gathering.
Given the current context, which has been made more "difficult,
especially because of the serious offenses committed by certain members
of the church, the Holy Father encourages you to persevere in your fight
against pedophilia" without forgetting "to recognize and support the
humble fidelity" of so many priests, religious and consecrated men and
women, and lay faithful.
The pope asked that their determination in their efforts and in
implementing zero tolerance be strengthened by "welcoming and listening
to victims, whose wounds will never have a 'prescription'" -- a word
which can also mean a "statute of limitations" as well as a medical