Pope Benedict XVI told Bishop Malooly Jan. 19, “I am aware of the struggle you had in Wilmington.”
Bishop Malooly was meeting with the pope during his periodic “ad limina” visit to the Vatican with other U.S. bishops from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, the Military Services archdiocese and the Virgin Islands.
Bishop Malooly said Jan. 24 after returning from Rome that he thanked Pope Benedict for his concern.
“Thank you, Holy Father, please keep us in your prayers,” the bishop said. “My people are very supportive, mostly because of the outstanding leadership of our priests.”
The pope’s remark to Bishop Malooly referred to the Diocese of Wilmington’s nearly two-year bankruptcy proceedings due to about 150 cases of sex abuse by priests. The bankruptcy was settled last July by the distribution of $101.4 million to diocesan creditors, including $77.4 million to compensate the survivors of abuse.
In addition to mentioning the support of the people of the diocese, Bishop Malooly, who said the pope appeared fit and healthy, also discussed vocations in the region represented by the bishops at the meeting.
He told Pope Benedict those parishes that have Eucharistic adoration often generate vocations.
“There seems to be a connection between prayer before the Blessed Sacrament” and vocations, the bishop said.
The pope’s address to the assembled U.S. bishops that day warned that “radical secularism” threatens the core values of American culture, and he called on the church in America, including politicians and other laypeople, to render “public moral witness” on crucial social issues.
Opening with a dire assessment of the state of American society, the pope told the bishops that “powerful new cultural currents” have worn away the country’s traditional moral consensus, which was originally based on religious faith as well as ethical principles derived from natural law.
Information from Catholic News Service also included in this article.