The past weeks confronted us with heartwrenching news about sexual abuse, scandalously but not shockingly displaying a pronounced homosexual tilt, perpetrated by priests, bishops, and at least one cardinal, against the children, adolescents, and young adults committed to their care. These sins are considered peccata clamantia, sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. And the disheartening thing about this is the fact that our spiritual fathers are party to the commission and impunity.
And so in fasting and prayer, we purposed to make a private act of reparation for these crimes. We pray that God would avert His anger from us, from the indifference we and others have shown. We ask for justice for the wronged, and conversion for the wrongdoers. We pray that God would honour the sincere efforts of many priest and bishops, laypeople as well, to address this scandal. And, uniting our sighs with those of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, we ask the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ to protect our priests: Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Thy Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
May this private act of recitation (click on the subheading below to open the booklet) help those searching for a voice with which to articulate the depth of the sorrow that envelops us now, to discover these unworthy words that could somehow enunciate the pain, and, with these, seek after the forgiveness of God.
O sweet Jesus, supreme and eternal Priest, good and merciful Shepherd, Whose most holy priesthood, instituted in order for qualified men to always freely render service in Thy offices, and worthily guide Thy flock in the governance of Holy Mother Church, is most irreverently assaulted by so much despise, contempt, deception, presumption, and impunity, behold us most humbly prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, by which Thy Holy Church is everywhere afflicted.
Mindful alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, owing to which we now witness this wickedness fostered, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offences, but also for the sins of those, who, beclouded in their power, exploiting their ecclesiastic office, have undermined the venerable wholeness of canon law and catechism guarded by the Church; and, hardened in their pride, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse to obey Thee, their Master and Guide, in the discharge of the care of souls; and, obstinate in their turpitude, renouncing the vows of their ordination, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.
Resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee, we are now determined to make amends for so many foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent; for the damnable defects in Christian modesty, for lapses in morals as well, widespread amongst clerics; for the horrifying and arcane vices, which abet disordered acts, inculcated by dishonourable leisure and company amongst those being formed in seminaries to receive holy orders; for the illicit and deliberate interpretations fabricated against the priestly obligation to a celibate life and a virginal chastity; for the sexual abuses perpetrated by Thy priests and ministers, likewise by religious brethren, on children and adolescents entrusted to their care; and, finally, for the punishable delicts of the guilty, concealed by their ordinaries and superiors, Thy bishops and pontiffs, our prelates and hierarchs, that the very young themselves, their physical and moral integrity violated, suffer greater affliction through the rest of their life.
Would, O divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our own blood. Meanwhile, for these loathsome faults deride the singular dignity of the priesthood, disfigure the sublime splendour of the Church, and offend, above all, almighty God, we now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honour, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thy eternal Father on the cross and which Thou dost continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all indifference against Thy holy priesthood and for the neglect of Thy precepts we and others have committed. Henceforth we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from harming Thy innocent children, and to bring as many as possible to a holy conversation of life in Thee. Therefore, spare, O Lord, spare Thy people, and turn off Thy anger from us, by Whom Thou art provoked unto vengeance. Receive, therefore, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, these acts of reparation of the entire family of Thy faithful, which, nourished in the faith of Thy Church, according to what Thou commandest, hath kept the treasury of faith, and hath guarded it against all manner of snares.
To thee, as well, O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Queen of Heaven and Earth, to thy Immaculate Heart, in this tragic hour of human history, we entrust and commend ourselves, together not only with the entire Holy Church, the mystical body of thy Son, scandalised in so many parts, and tormented in so many ways, but also with the whole world subdued by perverse affections, seduced by enticing obscenities, depraved by hankerings against nature, enfeebled by unbridled unchastity. May thou be moved by so much moral degradation around us; by so much sorrow of innocent children; by so many lives wounded in the flower of youth; by so many faithful troubled; by so many souls in the danger of eternal loss. Obtain, then, O Mother of mercy, those graces, which can convert in an instant the hardened hearts of men, and gradually heal the afflicted souls of the innocent. Thou, O Mirror of Justice, grant opportune remedy to the wounded, crush the excessive passions of sinners. Thou, O Seat of Wisdom, kindle in us the desire for compassion, and show unto us the justice of God.
To thee, likewise, O most chaste Saint Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and confidently invoke thy patronage also. Behold, O Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and protect the people which He hath chosen for Himself; keep far from us all blight of these corruptions; succour our needs, especially the needs of the victims and the vulnerable, by thy power and strength; assist us from Heaven, with thy fatherly charity, in this battle which we and other wage against the wicked enemies of the Church. Suppliant, O most benignant Protector of the universal Church, we beseech for ourselves thy assistance, for each and every of the servants of God, priests and bishops and layfolk we be, who strive to the best of our strengths against these damnable scandals, these deplorable injuries, these detestable deceits, by which the powers of darkness purpose to damage the Holy Church of God. Receive us, at last, O most blessed Saint Joseph, and forever dedicate us to thy most holy Spouse, with whose prayers we unite our special act of homage, that the most beloved Son of God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, our very model in reparation, mayeth deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to God, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where our very Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God, in the ages of the ages. Amen.
Afterwards, say the Litany of the Saints, and the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the third pericope of Psalm 105, and the versicles (omitting the last two, if lay). Finally, say the prayers from the Missal.
Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo !