'We ask the Holy Spirit to fill him with wisdom and strength'

Argentine bishops have joined those from Spain and Peru in voicing their support for Pope Francis, following Archbishop Viganò’s claims that the Vatican knew about abuse allegations involving Archbishop McCarrick.

The Argentine bishops’ conference (CEA) said their statement, published on August 30 on the Argentine bishops’ news site, AICA, was in response to “ruthless” attacks against the pontiff.

“We share your pains and hopes,” the letter said, explaining that it was written to express “fraternal and filial” closeness to the Pope.

“We know what you can say with St. Paul: ‘That is why I endure this test. But I am not ashamed, because I know in whom I have placed my trust, and I am convinced that he is able to preserve until that Day the good that he has entrusted to me’ (2 Tim 1:12).”

The letter was signed by Monsignor Oscar Vicente Ojea, bishop of San Isidro and CEA president, and Monsignor Carlos Humberto Malfa, bishop of Chascomús and secretary general.

“Today, through the intercession of Santa Rosa de Lima, patroness of Latin America, and united in trusting prayer, we ask the Holy Spirit to fill him with wisdom and strength so that, as Peter’s successor, he continues to confirm us in the faith of the Church”, the letter said.

Spain’s episcopal conference issued a statement of its own on August 23, in addition to publishing part of a letter it said was sent to the Pope, saying “Holy Father, you are not alone”.

“We ask the Lord to continue supporting you in the daily struggles,” wrote Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez of Valladolid, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, on behalf of the country’s bishops.

Cardinal Blazquez said part of announcing the Gospel also means denouncing, with courage, of what God disapproves. He said it was important to ask with humility for forgiveness of sins by members of the Church, both clergy and the laity.

Peru’s bishops, in a letter dated August 29, said that “in the face of attempts to destabilise the church,” they expressed support for the courageous and firm manner the Pope has shown in navigating “Christ’s boat”, meaning the Church.

Jesus supports the rock on which he built his Church, the letter said.

“We are sure that the Risen Christ … the church will continue to propel us forward so that without fear and full of hope, we will continue to work with greater energy at the service of the people of God,” it said.