I, like many of you, were saddened by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released this past week mere days after the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick. After picking my jaw up off the floor (and I only read some of the report) I felt my sadness turn to anger; that anger turn to shame. The shame was a familiar feeling—one that caused me to leave the Church for a brief period in high school/early college. But despite my feelings of smallness, I cannot stay silent. I am certain I am not alone in any of these feelings of heartbreak to see the Church that we love with a big, gaping wound.
And while we are standing with our mouths agape, then let me be the first to tell you to close your lips and do something. What do you do? Well, pray, then act. My gal pals Jenny and Valerie have great posts about what to do and how to do it here and here.
The reaction I have seen from most of the faithful is one of righteous anger. We are all profoundly heartbroken for the victims. We are all sickened and shocked by the actions of certain priests and bishops. But sadness is not enough. Not now, not ever. Look at #metoo movement. Look at #marchforourlives. The country rallies when children are shot…so what do we do when they are raped? The country rallies when women beg for contraception and abortion so what do we do when our men are being targeted for simply following their vocation? Let’s take a snippet from modern-day America and talk louder and louder until the powers that be simply cannot ignore us anymore (but that tactic proves useless in parenting, by the way). Use your voice to rally for good, to rally for Truth.
Pope Paul VI dedicates an entire chapter of Lumen Gentium to the laity of the Church. If you are not clergy/religious then you, my dear reader, are part of the laity. I encourage you all to read it. I re-read it and found hope. We have “the right…to receive in spiritual abundance from their spiritual shepherds the spiritual goods of the Church…”. We also have the right and are “sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church” (36). Our value as members of the Church should not go unnoticed. We do not deserve to be fearful of sending our children to schools or into the seminary. I believe parents may feel this in a way no one else can because we are charged with the spiritual and physical protection of the tiny souls entrusted to us. Where is safe? We see cultural vulgarity in almost every aspect of our lives. Why must it be in our Church as well? Alas…the fall of man…
I would be lying if I said I’m not questioning Catholic schools and even CCE programs. You only get one chance to be a child and the world has already given us so many ways to screw it up. I cannot change the world. But I can change the Church: one earnest prayer, one petition, one act of love at a time.