With the steady drum beat of new revelations of scandal and lack of accountability of the part of Catholic church leaders, the fatigue is palpable, with increasing numbers among the faithful wondering aloud, how long before the church is somehow purified and freed from this awful taint? While we hear from the hierarchy about an abiding concern for the victims and expressions of anger with the shortcomings of some priests and bishops, we need more emphasis on achieving justice for the victims. This means “throwing back the curtains”, taking steps to bring strong and certain corrective measures and even criminal cases when necessary to purge our church of those shepherds who were negligent, even intentionally so in their mishandling of abuse cases. A sense of urgency is needed, beyond having more meetings of bishops, more declarations and rewriting of policies.
Reports in the media about Vatican action to address the current cloud of accusations are somewhat promising, although slow in coming. Meanwhile, from what I’m reading, action of the part of several attorneys general will continue, to air the records of past abuse, likely revealing even more stark and sickening examples.
What worries me is this “smoke of Satan” I hear about, engulfing our world and apparently wafting through our church as well. For me, the apparent and ongoing diminished interest in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation, the longstanding culture of tolerance, often depicted by a call not to be judgmental, may be clues to Satan’s presence. I recall hearing television preacher T.D. Jakes reminding us that “The devil is a liar!” With good intentions, and wanting to show good will to all, even when church doctrine is compromised, we may be deceived into believing the supremacy of love and mercy will somehow prevail, even if we allow pure evil to run unchecked. The clever use of political labels further blurs the picture, calling those adhering to doctrine “conservatives”, and those not so much as “liberal”. This way, all opinions and point of view seem to be equally valid. Indeed, the devil is a liar!
In closing, we must become active as we the people are the church of Jesus Christ. It’s okay to openly press leaders for a full and complete investigation of the McCarrick matter, allowing the chips to fall where they may. Yes, we need to pray for our church, it’s priests and leaders, and of course the victims. The untold damage to so many lives from abuse to must be paramount in our thoughts and prayers, and in all that we do.