Pope says weary Church 'wounded by her own sin,' in reference to abuse

PANAMA CITY, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Saturday the Roman Catholic Church was weary and "wounded by her own sin," in an apparent reference to the global sexual abuse crisis.

Francis made the comment in the homily of Mass for priests, nuns, and members of Catholic lay organizations in Panama City's newly renovated cathedral of Santa Maria Antigua, the first in mainland America, which was completed in 1716.

The pope has called a summit of the heads of national Catholic churches at the Vatican from Feb. 21-24 to discuss what is now a global sexual abuse crisis.

The meeting offers a chance for him to respond to criticism from victims of abuse that he has stumbled in his handling of the crisis and has not done enough to make bishops accountable. .

In his homily, Francis spoke of "The weariness of hope (that) comes from seeing a Church wounded by her own sin" and of a Church "which so often failed to hear all those cries."

He used the words "weary," "wearisome" or "weariness" about 20 times in the homily.

Related: Pope Frances canonizes new saints:

27 PHOTOS
Pope Francis canonizes new saints in ceremony
See Gallery
Pope Francis canonizes new saints in ceremony
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square during a canonization ceremony, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square during a canonization ceremony presided over by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has lauded new saints Pope Paul VI and slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as prophets of a church that looks out for the poor as he presided over a canonization ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square during a canonization ceremony presided over by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has lauded new saints Pope Paul VI and slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as prophets of a church that looks out for the poor as he presided over a canonization ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A woman applauds the announcement by Pope Francis that El Salvador's martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero is a Saint, outside the cathedral where Romero's remains are entombed and where people gathered to watch tv live images from the Vatican in San Salvador, El Salvador, early Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. For many in San Salvador, it was the culmination of a fraught and politicized campaign to have the church formally honor a man who publicly denounced the repression by El Salvador's military dictatorship at the start of the country's 1980-1992 civil war. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
Faithful follow a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A tapestry portraying Maria Katharina Kasper hangs from a balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonized two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Nuns wave flags during a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Chile President Sebastian Pinera, foreground center, attends a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has lauded new saints Pope Paul VI and slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as prophets of a church that looks out for the poor as he presided over a canonization ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square during a canonization ceremony, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square during a canonization ceremony, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has praised two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church as prophets who shunned wealth and looked out for the poor as he canonized the modernizing Pope Paul VI and martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Francis declared the two men saints at a Mass in St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of pilgrims, a handful of presidents and some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Tapestries portraying new proclaimed saints hang from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica during a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has lauded new saints Pope Paul VI and slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as prophets of a church that looks out for the poor as he presided over a canonization ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis presides over a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis has lauded new saints Pope Paul VI and slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as prophets of a church that looks out for the poor as he presided over a canonization ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Emeritus Queen Sofia of Spain attends a ceremony for the canonization of two towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church: Pope Paul VI, who oversaw church reforms of the 1960s, and Archbishop Oscar Romero, a human rights icon who was murdered for his defense of El Salvador's poor, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis celebrates Sunday's saint-making Mass wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was gunned down in 1980. He will also be using Paul VI's staff, chalice and vestment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Cheren attends a ceremony for the canonization of two towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church: Pope Paul VI, who oversaw church reforms of the 1960s, and Archbishop Oscar Romero, a human rights icon who was murdered for his defense of El Salvador's poor, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis celebrates Sunday's saint-making Mass wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was gunned down in 1980. He will also be using Paul VI's staff, chalice and vestment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A priest holds a picture of martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero prior to a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A man holds flag with a picture of martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero prior to a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis, center, incenses the relics during a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A man wears an El Salvador scarf prior to a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis presides over a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis presides over a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis incenses the relics during a canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Pope Francis canonizes two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Figures of archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero are displayed for sale at a Catholic shop, in San Salvador, El Salvador, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Pope Francis will canonize two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
A pedestrian looks at a banner with the image of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, in San Salvador, El Salvador, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Pope Francis will canonize two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today.(AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Francis then led an elaborate service in which he consecrated the basilica's new altar, donning a white apron over his vestments as he rubbed it down with holy oil and blessed it with incense.

Relics of three Latin American saints - Saint Rosa of Lima, Saint Oscar Romero and Saint Martin de Porres - as well as a relic of Saint John Paul II, were installed in the altar.

Romero, a champion of the poor, was killed by a right-wing death squad in San Salvador in 1980 and was made a saint by Pope Francis in 2018.

Last year was an "annus horribilis" for the pope, with abuse crises exploding in several countries, particularly Chile and the United States.

Following accusations of a cover up of abuse in Chile, all 34 of the country's bishops offered their resignations. Francis has so far accepted seven of them but has also defrocked two Chilean bishops accused of molesting minors.

Last August, the Church in the United States was rocked by a damning grand jury report on the sexual abuse of children by priests in Pennsylvania over a 70-year period.

Francis has urged predator priests who have sexually abused minors to turn themselves in and has acknowledged that the Church had made serious errors in the past.

Before leaving for Panama, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said a meeting between the pope and victims of clergy abuse was not on the schedule. On past trips, however, such meetings were announced only after they took place.

Francis is in Panama for the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day, a global gathering of Catholic youth that takes place in a different city about every three years.

On Saturday night, Francis was due to preside at a prayer vigil with hundreds of thousands of young Catholics who have come to Panama from around the world. He leaves for Rome on Sunday night after a closing outdoor Mass. (Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Diane Craft)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.