Dear St Mary’s Parishioners,
Some of you emailed me expressing your anger and doubts in the Church with regards to the recent news about McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. Only a few emailed me but I’m sure many more feel the same way. I’m also scandalized and shocked by many of the things that are happening. It produces indignation in me when people who are in authority use that authority to abuse others. It’s far from the vision of Jesus for the priesthood. It is unimaginable the damage that it can cause in the soul and life of a little child. I think the McCarrick case is a very shaming situation. He accepted the position of cardinal know all the evil he had done. If you are broken inside, how can you keep accepting more leadership positions?
As in other times in the history of the Church, the Lord is allowing this to come out in public to purify his Church and lead her to a deeper holiness. Ephesians 4 says that Jesus, the Divine Groom, wants a beautiful, holy, and without wrinkle Church, the Bride. He wants to purify her from her sins. Hopefully, all these events will help the Church reform herself. Unfortunately, all these scandals will affect those who are part of our church but also those who are away from the Church. The public image is going to be very negative. It will take time to restore it.
What to do now?
- I encourage you to read both the letter of Pope Francis to the People of God and the letter of Archbishop Sample.
Archbishop Sample is inviting us to a Mass of Healing for Victims of Sexual Abuse on Sunday August 26 at 11 am at the Cathedral.
- Both Pope Francis and Archbishop Sample invite us to pray and fast for our leaders and for victims of sexual abuse.
- Renew your desire to grow in holiness.
As Archbishop says in his letter, this is a spiritual battle. Although policies to protect children are essential (and are now in place in this Archdiocese and most of the Archdioceses in the US), I think the main thing is a return to holiness. Bishops, priests and laity need to conform to the life of the Gospel, a radical option for simplicity of life, life of prayer, love for the poor, and life in Christ. This is how true reform came to the Church, through the saints.
- Although the failure of leaders always shakes our faith, that’s the nature of scandal, the solution is not to leave the Catholic Church but to stay and reform her from within.
When Luther saw corruption, he did express his opinion but left the Church. Saint Ignatius saw the corruption but reformed himself and reform the Church. Next Sunday, we are going to read the gospel of John 6, after the bread of life discourse, Jesus saw many were leaving, and he said to Peter, do you want to also leave? Peter said – To whom shall we go? I think in the same way. To whom shall we go? The Church is my bride. I will never abandon her! I’m ashamed for what some member of the church have done. But that’s not the totality. There are also many healthy and holy priests that give their lives in silence. I want to stay to reform the church that gives me the life of Jesus. Yes, many priests did harm but that’s not the totality of the Church.
- It is important to know that the Church has changed its policy since the Dallas Charter in 2002.
So now we are paying for grave mistakes in the past. Most of the cases we are facing now come from the past. Locally, at least from what I’ve seen in the Archdiocese of PDX in the last 10 years both archbishops, Vlazny and Sample, have adopted a zero-tolerance policy. They have trained ministers in the church very efficiently. There were two cases of abuse in the last 5 years and priests were removed them immediately of their position.As you can read from the article of Bill Donohue: “Almost all the accused are either dead or have been thrown out of the priesthood. For example, in the Diocese of Harrisburg, 71 persons are named: 42 are dead and four are missing. Most of those who are still alive are no longer in ministry.”And I’m sure that current leadership will also enforce a culture of safety and protection of the most vulnerable, starting with our children.However, I think that there is still more work and reform to be done. I know that are many problems that are current, like the homosexual scandal in Honduras. The church has to screen candidates for the priesthood very well and not admit people who struggle with these things.
- We need to be careful about secular media. Try to read carefully from trustworthy sources. The secular media is going to take advantage of these events to damage the Church.
I’m sorry if this letter is too long. I’m very sorry that many people like you are suffering confusion from all this event. I hope it strengthens your faith in the Church. I don’t think you do well by withdrawing or staying home from Mass or the Sacraments.
I’m going to speak about it this week at all Masses.
You are in my prayers,