Catholic Exchange: Don’t Let the Scandals of the Hierarchy Lead You to Despair

The Church in the United States is once more stunned to learn of scandal within our leadership as news of accusations of sexual abuse by Cardinal McCarrick continue to be reported. The news coming out of Chile has been bad enough, but now a high ranking member of the hierarchy is accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse. Those of us in the Church continue to feel anger, sadness, confusion, and, quite frankly, disgust, about a problem that just will not seem to go away.

People outside of the Church now have even more ammunition to lob our way, which makes it harder for us to evangelize in an ever more hostile culture like our own. Many are asking: When will this evil finally be purged from the Church? The truth is that evil will only be fully purged from the Church when Christ returns.

The dangers of despair

I read various threads in social media about this latest scandal and one of the greatest concerns I had was about those people who are struggling with despair and a loss of faith. Some people are even contemplating leaving the Church for some other denomination or leaving Christianity for good. This is one of the great evils of public scandal within the hierarchy of the Church. It harms the faithful directly and can lead people to the sin of despair. Sin always has communal dimensions, but when it is tied directly to our leadership its reach is far and wide.

When I was stationed in England, at the height of the American Church’s abuse scandal, I worked with a gentleman who had left the Church because of the scandal. He was angry, repulsed, hostile, and had become anti-Catholic. Underneath, I could see great pain and disappointment. He couldn’t stomach that some priests had abused children and this caused him to leave the Faith. There was little I could do to help change his mind. The damage was done.

The McCarrick situation seems to follow the more common issue of a man in power abusing other adults, but the media has made sure the majority of people think that the vast majority of victims were children, even though they were not. This in no way minimizes the seriousness of the situation or the crimes. Abuses of power and coercion for sexual gain, or any other type of gain, is gravely sinful and evil, even more so when children are involved. It is merely to clarify the situation because precision does matter. It also allows us to explain this terrible situation to our interlocutors.

 

Read the rest over at Catholic Exchange.

7 Quick Takes-Early October Edition

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This week we started Fr. Barron and Word on Fire’s, http://www.wordonfire.org, new Catholicism series that focuses on the New Evangelization.  Just like the first Catholicism series, it is rich and beautiful.  This particular study is much shorter and has a discussion and homework element.  The aim is to get Catholics sitting in the pews involved in evangelizing the world.  That word can have a negative connotation, but it is not the same thing as proselytizing.  We have been given the Good News and the key to Eternal Life.  We should joyfully want to share this gift by the way we live and in the relationships we foster with the people who cross our path.  Most importantly, we must learn to listen.  We must open our hearts to where people are on the journey.  That does not mean sacrificing our beliefs (think “the Spirit of Vatican II”), it just means working through the path with someone without expecting them to be where we are in our path to holiness. The Church must go out into the world and meet the world.  We are not to be formed by the world, but to bring the world to Christ.  This is a wonderful series and I recommend getting it for your parish.

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 Nothing makes my blood boil like injustice, and yes, I struggle with sinful anger.  It can be large or small.  When I was in the Navy and I heard they were building a World War II memorial in Washington DC, I sent them a donation and had my two deceased grandfathers added to the registry.  My dad’s dad was in the USMC and was on the initial assault at Iwo Jima and my mom’s dad was in the Army Air Corps and fought in the European Theater.  These men remain large in my memory.  Men of courage, devotion, and great love for their families.  That is why when I heard that this Admin maliciously closed the WWII memorial, especially in the face of Veterans, I was livid.  I lived in DC for 4 years.  The memorials are wide open and have no security.  This move was purely out of small minded and spiteful motives.  To make 80 and 90 year old men who gave everything to this nation come to tears because they had traveled so far only to be turned away, was unconscionable to me.  This may seem small to some people, but it is indicative of a government that cares for no one and that has become so entrenched in the Culture of Death and the principle of “me” that they cannot even grasp small injustices.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not happy with either Party.  I just think the Left is further along in the Culture of Death than the Right.  I don’t know how long that gap will exist, though.  If you have not heard about this story, look it up.  Of course the mainstream media, which is really a propaganda arm, did not show this story and the pettiness of the people in charge in this country.  In the face of my frustration, all I can do is pray for these people.  And as time goes on, it is becoming clearer to me just how much prayer they need and how much our country needs.
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On the same day that I was fuming about Washington, my daughter reminded me that I need to focus on the small blessings in my life, because they give me great joy.  Michaela was sitting on the porch with our small Mary and Baby Jesus statue with it on her lap and carrying on a conversation with them.  I told her they can hear her in Heaven.  I had gone to do something in the kitchen, when I discovered that she had snuck the statue in and was snuggling with it on the couch.  It melted my heart.  It was so sweet.
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This week I had to start giving myself my HCG shots to see if we can get my hormones to rise.  The goal is to make it possible to carry another baby and to help with my anxiety and depression.  I had a nurse friend show me how to do it the other night.  The needle is quite small, but I chickened out.  I have had countless shots and blood draws and the needles never bother me.  It is another matter, when you have to stab yourself and watch yourself do it.  I had her do the first shot.
Last night I had to do my second shot.  I was determined, but contemplated taking a shot of vodka beforehand.   I said a Hail Mary and stabbed myself in the stomach.  I was so proud of myself.  One down, and who knows how many, but a lot to go.   The shots don’t hurt.  It is just a mental block.
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My daughter is awesome.  Earlier this week, she put on her superhero cape and then proceeded to tell me that she was going to cook Baby Jesus dinner.  After all, He is hungry, she told me.  If she is going to desire to cook a meal for anyone, I would say Jesus is the best choice.
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As I suspected would happen, we had a cool September and now we are having a hot October in Southwest Virginia.  That means the stinkbugs have decided that our house is some form of retirement home.  The problem is, they don’t pay rent and my daughter yells at me to get rid of one every time she sees one, which is about once every 10 minutes.
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We grew sunflower this past summer with the idea that we would roast the seeds.  We discovered that it is a lot of work for something that we do not eat very often.  The birds got to some of the flowers first and then when we washed and tried to dry the seeds in the sun, the squirrels got into them.  As I went to roast them last night, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed that we could grow the flowers to feed the wildlife and enjoy their happy countenance in the garden in August.  As for roasting them, nah.  The squirrels are happy and so are we.
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