A sign outside the Mundelein Seminary asks the faithful to pray for U.S. based Roman Catholic bishops gathering there for a weeklong prayer retreat, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Mundelein, Ill. The bishops are gathering to reflect on the church sexual abuse scandal ahead of a summit of the world’s bishops next month at the Vatican aimed at forging a comprehensive response to the crisis. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
Pope Francis is encouraging U.S. bishops meeting near Chicago to unify as the Catholic church deals with a “crisis of credibility” stemming from the clergy sex abuse scandal.
In an eight-page letter addressed to the bishops and released to the media Thursday, Francis acknowledges “no response or approach seems adequate” to the crisis representing a grave threat to his papacy.
Still, he wrote, all church leaders must reckon with parishioners’ pain, heal internal divisions and devise specific approaches that go beyond “creating new committees or improving flow charts.”
Francis suggested the bishops hold the current weeklong retreat for prayer and spiritual reflection. The event at the Mundelein Seminary is a prelude to a high-stakes summit of the world’s bishops at the Vatican next month to forge a comprehensive response the crisis engulfing the church.