Where do we go in times of struggle, anger and disappointment? Everyoneresponds differently. Some of our coping is healthy; others destructive. As Catholic Christians, the banquet that God provides is the place to go. Here, we are welcomed. Here, we can raise our voices in songs of praise, cries of lamentation, desperate cries for help. Here, we let each other know we are here for each other. Here the food and drink is the Body and Blood of the Lord…which is all we need. it is at this Sacred Meal we find peace in our struggles, hope in times of despair, solace in times of pain, forgiveness in times of sin and God when He seems far away. With everything that has happened this week in our Church, the only place we can go is to the Lord. Right now, he alone is where our trust is. He alone can heal the wounds that are open in the Body of Christ. He alone can refashion his Church. Christ alone will show us the way to finally move beyond this pain.
There are no easy answers or solutions. We need to begin by being honest with what we are feeling. You and I need to dialogue about how this is affecting us personally. Then, and only then, can we begin to solve this. Do not think you are powerless in the face of the hierarchy. You are God’s people; you are the Church; and you have the right to call our leadership to task. Many people are saying to allow priests to marry, allow women to be priests or do away with celibacy….these ideas first solutions. Before anything like that is considered, we need to look why this abuse occurs in all strata of life and how it can be addressed for the safety of children and the vulnerable. We need to address the abuse of power and the crossing of boundaries that occur in all realms of ministry; the same thing needs to happen in the corporate world and in all relationships. I am advocating solutions, not quick fixes. I am advocating challenging those who are Bishops to honestly confront their abuse of power and exercise their legitimate authority with charity, compassion, and justice. This challenge is also for all of us in leadership, and for all who have power over others…..inside the Church and out.
Please talk with me if you need to and are comfortable with it or find someone who is a good listener. Do not allow your justified anger at people who abused power to rob you of the grace of the Sacraments and the Church. No one should have that power over any of us.
It is my plan next month to have an hour of prayer for the healing of the Church and for those who harmed by the abuse of this power. You need to tell me what else you need. I do not want this to swept under the rug and our community die because of it. With our focus on the Lord, we will heal and a new Church will be born from the roots of the Cross. May Mary, the Mother of the Church and patroness of this community, pray for the healing of her children.