The Angels I've been wrestling have been particularly strong. I've been disheartened recently about the continuing and horrific revelations about abuse and subsequent cover-ups in my beloved Church. It's getting nasty now in the media, with poorly researched articles appearing in the New York Times and elsewhere. A good number of journalists have been heavy-handed against the Church, have been gleefully embellishing stories and making tenuous connections with certain members of the hierarchy, up to and including the Holy Father. It makes me angry.
I'm also angry that there ARE such stories to embellish. This scandal was not invented by liberal journalists. Scores of children, worldwide, were abused. Their predators were shifted around and then thrown to the wolves in the name, ironically, of protecting the institution from scandal. We, the faithful, ARE SCANDALIZED, more than we possibly could have been if it had just been the abuse (it feels horrible to write that, 'just the abuse').
The hierarchy releases statements on the order of "horrible mistakes were made". Let's face it; it is easy to condemn the purposeful abuse of a child by anyone, especially by someone who is supposed to take their welfare to heart. A grudging admission of a mistake in the passive voice (oops, so sorry)is not sufficient. When the faithful celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we admit our sins before God to receive absolution. However, if we don't do our penance - make the wrong we did right - it's an exercise in futility.
Should the faithful expect any less of the shepherds of our Church?
It is not only the direct victims of the abusers who have suffered. It is the millions of Catholics who have had their faith shaken by the callousness of those who would shepherd us, who put their own standing ahead of the welfare of the young. It is the hundreds of thousands of good and holy clergy and religious, who must endure ridicule and suspicion because of the acts of their brothers, whose own moral authority and motivations are brought into question simply by association. It is the Church itself - the TRUE church, the living, breathing Body of Christ - that now must defend itself from attacks both within and without.
Lord God grant me faith. Chase my discouragement and shame. Guide and strengthen your Body of Christ; We are frightened. We have suffered. And we are angry.
Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Daily Mass Readings