CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The highest Catholic leader in Charlotte said he wants answers after the recent child abuse allegations in the church.
Diocese of Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis addressed Catholics from around the state on Saturday during the second day of the Eucharistic Congress at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The final Mass of the Eucharistic Congress was not just for praise, but also a time for reflection.
"We have all been entirely justified in our continued expressions of shame, anger, disappointment, disgust and feelings of betrayal,” Jugis said. "My heart is very heavy and disgusted."
- NC Catholics use Eucharistic Congress to 'renew religion' following accused sexual abuse scandal
- Lawsuit against church youth leader, Charlotte Catholic Diocese alleges sexual assault, negligence
- Hundreds of priests accused of sexual abuse, some incidents possibly in the Carolinas
- Charlotte bishops call reports of Pennsylvania priests molesting thousands of kids 'shameful'
- Catholics consider withholding donations amid scandals
- Bishops accused of brushing off sexual abuse complaints
- 'Weaponization of faith': Examples from clergy abuse report
- Vatican in 'shame and sorrow' over abuses in Pennsylvania
Beyond that heavy heart, the bishop is still counting on prayers to carry the Church through.
“Pray for those who committed these criminal acts and for justice to be rendered,” Jugis said.
Jugis said the allegations of sex abuse are crimes against the innocent, and spoke about how the Catholic Church should move forward.
Jugis believes justice can only happen through an indepth investigation to uncover the truth and bring healing for the victims.
Fellow Catholics agree, saying it will take a united Church effort.
“Anything that wounds any part of that body, wounds all of us, so we have to pray for repentance of that and work to be a part of the solution,” Catholic Valerie Giggie said.
"Things happened, and it's a clear sign that the devil is at work and we have to watch out,” Erwin Schmitt added.
In a crowd of thousands of Catholics, the praise continues, with faith keeping them afloat.
"If you think that the Catholic Church, because of this, is falling apart, it's completely the other way," Schmitt said.
Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:
- CMPD makes arrest connected with 2009 homicide of pregnant girl
- Sheriff: York Co. officer fired after accused of having sex with inmate
- Police identify shooter who allegedly killed man during fight in York Co.
- WATCH: Jaclyn Shearer's Saturday forecast outlook
- TRACKING: Florence expected to regain hurricane strength over weekend
© 2019 Cox Media Group.