BRIDGEPORT, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Connecticut bishop has directed all his priests to recite the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after every Mass in response to the sex abuse crisis now roiling the Catholic Church.
Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport made the request effective September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, on which day he will lead a holy hour and Mass of Reparation along with all the priests in the diocese.
He asked that the St. Michael prayer be recited after every Mass beginning that day, and exhorted Catholics to “pray it personally as well.”
The 59-year-old Brooklyn-born Caggiano was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Brooklyn diocese by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Bridgeport in July 2013.
“The Leonine Prayers that were promulgated in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII included the St. Michael prayer. These prayers were said after every low Mass for at least 80 years,” noted diocesan priest Fr. David Kloster in a guest post on liturgyguy.com.
“That they were ever stopped, giving a great entry to Satan and his minions, was a tragedy for the Church. Hopefully the Church will once again benefit mightily from that stalwart prayer of fortitude,” he wrote.
The current sex abuse scandal began with New York diocese announcing in June there were credible allegations that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose homosexual predations had been an open secret in church circles for decades, sexually abused a teenaged boy while a priest in New York.
As further allegations against McCarrick followed, the Pennsylvania grand jury released a report in mid-August detailing decades of allegations of clerical sexual abuse and its coverup in six dioceses.
That prompted widespread calls for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, mentioned over 200 times in the report, to resign, as well as calls for investigation into the role of the bishops in covering up sex abuse in the Church.
And Archbishop Carlos Vigano’s bombshell testimony last Saturday asserted Pope Francis and a number of cardinals, bishops and priests knew about McCarrick but placed him in positions of influence.
As the crisis deepens, Bridgeport diocese is not unaffected by such matters, but is pursuing a policy of transparency.
The same day Bishop Caggiano announced his Mass of reparation and the reinstitution of the St. Michael’s prayer, the diocese published his letter suspending Fr. Francisco Gomez-Franco’s priestly faculties.
Caggiano asked Fr. Gomez to resign in July after he texted minors “over a significant period of time” and offered gifts to minors without their parents’ consent. Gomez also had some physical contact with minors that was not sexual in nature but which made both the minors and adults present uncomfortable, the letter states.
While Gomez’s behaviour was not illegal or immoral it was a serious violation of boundaries with minors and a violation of the diocese’s code of conduct, the letter states.
Gomez checked into the Saint John Vianney Center in Pennsylvania in late July, and a month later staff there recommended he continue treatment at Southdown Institute in Toronto.
However, Gomez refused and decided to leave the priesthood, and consequently the bishop has declared him impeded from exercising the Sacred Order of Priesthood.