I feel grief, a deep sadness, and anger over the facts revealed to us this week about clergy abusing minors in the Church. The constant disheartening news about the long history of abuse from Pennsylvania and about a Cardinal and bishops of the Church strikes at our hearts and our hopes.
As a priest of twenty-seven years who stands before you week after week, I want you to know how much I share your shock and embarrassment. As a church, we are all ashamed and reminded so powerfully these days of the very real nature of sin. It is never private. Sin always affects us all. I ask you today to lift up in prayer all those who have been wounded by clergy everywhere.
We are at a crisis, a place in the road where we must make a choice to go one way or another. We either deny and live in darkness or we stand in the light of the truth. Relying on the strength and truth of the Gospel, when evil and sin is being revealed to us, we are provided an opportunity for redemption and healing. We can only go to the Light – to Christ.
I can assure you that in our Archdiocese and in our parish that everything humanly possible is being done to create a trustworthy and transparent environment where everyone is safe, can find support, and encouragement to lead a healthy and holy life of service and prayer.
For me and for all priests, bishops, and deacons, this is a time for repentance with a firm resolve for renewal. We are all sinners relying on the grace of our Savior.
Ultimately, this is about truth, the truth about ourselves and the truth about this church which we love. It is not by chance that we begin every sacred liturgy with the cry: “Lord, Have Mercy.”
When Jesus chose those twelve to be his companions, he knew them, and as the Gospels reveal so often, they were a mess of doubt, ambition, jealousy, judgement, and betrayal. Yet, he entrusted the truth of the Gospel to them and he still does to us all. “Lord, I am not worthy” we say over and over again, and then he says the word that heals.
Let us pray now that he will say the word again and send the Holy Spirit to purify, to cleanse, and lift us up from this shame and sorrow, for we know we are better than this, we know we must care for one another gently and with love.