Pope Francis published a letter Sunday to encourage all priests to remain steadfast and prayerful during this time of purification after revelations of abuse by some priests, so that there may be a renewal of holiness in the priesthood.

“I am convinced that, to the extent that we remain faithful to God’s will, these present times of ecclesial purification will make us more joyful and humble, and prove, in the not distant future, very fruitful,” the pope wrote in a letter published Aug. 4.

Encouraging priests to reread the 16th chapter of Ezekial, he said, “let us not grow discouraged! The Lord is purifying his Bride and converting all of us to himself. He is letting us be put to the test in order to make us realize that without him we are simply dust. He is rescuing us from hypocrisy, from the spirituality of appearances.”

“It is the history of the Church, and each of us can say it is our history too,” he continued. “In the end, through your sense of shame, you will continue to act as a shepherd. Our humble repentance, expressed in silent tears before these atrocious sins and the unfathomable grandeur of God’s forgiveness, is the beginning of a renewal of our holiness.”

Pope Francis published the letter on the 160th anniversary of the death of the Cure of Ars St. John Vianney, who is the patron saint of parish priests.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.