I know a lot of Catholic writers are responding to the the release of the Grand Jury Report out of Pennsylvania yesterday. I honestly don’t have any words. I can’t bring myself to read the report. Some of the excerpts that I’ve read horrified me so much that I couldn’t read any further. All I could think was that these deeds came straight out of hell. If anyone still thinks Satan is a myth or a symbol, yesterday’s report should wake them from their slumber. Lives have been utterly destroyed. Demonic, vile, evil acts have been perpetrated on children by predators who were supposed to be the very spiritual fathers God gave to them to aid them on the path to heaven. Our bishops continue to bumble about. How can they not be utterly and completely horrified, appalled, and deeply pained by what is going on? Where are our shepherds?
The wound in the Mystical Body is great. The Enemy has struck a direct hit on the priesthood once again, which is a direct hit on the Church. Driving a wedge between the laity and the priesthood is an effective tactic for sowing division. The world sees us as irrelevant, or worse, evil. The entire Body of Christ is hurting. It will take generations to recover from such treachery, betrayal, and heinous acts. What are we to do? Pray and fast for the victims, the perpetrators for their repentance and conversion, as well as justice to be done for those still living, as well as for our priests, our bishops, and the entire Church.
The only answer to such evil is the Cross. We must enter into the great mystery of the Cross together and stand fast as the much needed purification of the Church takes place. It will be extremely painful. This isn’t even close to over. In the end, Our Lord will bring good out of this evil and the Church will be cleansed so that she can boldly live her mission once more. This purge is needed and only then will we be able to move forward. Our hope is in Christ. Love always wins. The victory is won, even as we must endure the battles here until the Second Coming. Hope in Him.
As a side note, I’m going to go ahead and publish my piece I wrote for this week for Catholic Exchange tomorrow on financially giving to our parishes in a movement of caritas (love) and communio (communion). A lot of writers are encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ to withhold money from the Church as a response to the scandals. While I can see how one can in good conscience refrain from giving to a diocese where a bishop is embroiled in scandal or doing nothing in response to the scandal, I can’t support us withholding money from our parishes, especially where good and holy priests serve. If there’s heresy or scandal in a parish, sure. That I can understand, but in our anger, hurt, and betrayal we cannot inflict deeper wounds on our own communities.
My own parish is staring down a massive campaign to fund repairing the leaking roof of our gorgeous historic church. The scandals do not change that we must support our parishes in order to keep them running. Giving from the financial gifts God has given to us is not simply an obligation, it shows our love for God and our brothers and sisters in Christ through the communion we share. I don’t want to see my brothers and sisters in the pews or my spiritual fathers/brothers in the priesthood suffer because we are angry. Wrath will get us nowhere. To heal we must demand reform, accountability, an investigation, consequences, repentance, and more from our bishops. At the same time, we must be seeking lives of holiness and learning to live the communion we share in the love of the Divine Persons. We cannot allow these horrors to divide us. We must come together as one in Christ. Prudence and charity must inform our sense of justice in times like these. May God bless you always on this Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.