I’m about to write several thoughts on the Catholic Church scandals ongoing. In many ways this is the hardest thing I have written, as I would not have had to write it if I didn’t have this blog.
I ask for prayers and support, as I will probably share much and reopen old wounds.There is a book that I love, called Outlaws of Ravenhurst. In one scene, an unknown assailant asks a 13 year old boy what faith he followed.
“Are you of the old Faith or the new?”
“I am a Catholic, sir!”
“No brass in the ringing of that coin, boy! Well spoken!”
That exchange has always stuck with me, both as a young man and now. The theme being that the coin rings as silver, or as a pure, real coin. And the boy answers promptly and unequivocally.
When I say the words, “I am a Catholic”, I present to everyone that I believe and uphold the faith and moral doctrines of the Catholic Church, all of them. If I only followed some of them, I wouldn’t be Catholic but something else. That, or in heresy. And so I will be blunt here and repeat it.
I am a Catholic. Judge me how you like.
Everyone is aware that the Church is going through a great scandal, from revelations about child abuse in the worst, most disgusting and graphic way, to Cardinals accused of preying on young men under their authority, to accusations against the pope himself for ignoring it or covering it up, and the same for bishops in the Vatican and the US.
These are grave allegations, about serious matter and grave sin. As a church, we are all affected by this. As parents, we worry for the safety of our children, as parishioners we worry for the health and stability of our priests, and for some we question if the Catholic faith is just full of perverts, and we should go somewhere else. These kind of feelings can’t be dealt with by a pithy statement, a noncommittal letter, or assurances that it be looked into. “Top. Men.” I’m reminded of when I write that.
For many, this is a crisis of faith. The ones who were in charge of shepherding us were wolves, how can we trust? Think about this. The people telling you how to live to safeguard your immortal soul are damning their own or others. I can see many who would recoil in horror from those people and they profess.
To you who are affected by this, I ask you to look not the sinners, but at the great Saints. They are the ones who lived out the ideals and principles of the faith, not the ones who betrayed it. Remember what you profess to believe when you say you are Catholic. Ask yourself, does it cease to be true if people don’t follow it?
To victims worldwide of these horrifying acts I can only offer support, prayers and love, because I truly don’t know what you’ve been through. And words aren’t enough.
I’ll end by sharing the thoughts of the Catholic Stuff you should Know podcast, specifically about this topic. It is heartfelt and honest and raw, and worth an hour of your time. You know you have an hour to listen.
For part 2, I will address the response and my anger.