papal visit

Pope Francis Addresses U.S. Bishops, Says Clergy Abuse Must Not Be Repeated — and Immigrants Must Be Welcomed

Pope Francis speaks to bishops during the midday prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

After his visit to the White House and a parade in D.C., Pope Francis spoke to the vast majority of American bishops during a prayer session at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. During his remarks, Francis told the bishops that the offenses of the church’s sexual-abuse scandal must not be repeated. Said the pope, “I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

The pope told the bishops, “I have not come to judge you or to lecture you,” and spoke of the importance of pastoralism over doctrine. He urged the bishops not to use “harsh and divisive language.”

Pope Francis arrives for the midday prayer service. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

He also pointedly spoke about immigration: “Open your arms and welcome them without fear.” 

Bishops listen to the translation of Pope Francis’s remarks. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Pope Francis Addresses U.S. Bishops