3 Ways We Can Respond to the Scandal in the Church
By The CLSP Team
Like many of you, we are reeling with emotion after learning about the sexual abuse scandal in Pennsylvania. These human beings sinned greatly, and, though they are members of the Church, they do not represent what the Church is meant to be, what the Church teaches, or what Christ stands for.
This is an extremely difficult time. For some of you, this may even be deeply personal. You may have intimate or close knowledge of physical, emotional, or spiritual harm caused by this evil. We mourn with you and pray with you. We hold you close and beg the Father to hold you in the palm of His loving hand.
No matter how hard this crisis is, we must never lose faith. Our focus must remain on Christ. That is the only way we will get through this.
As the next few weeks unfold, we will likely hear a lot of ugly things about the Church in the media. As painful as that will be, it is necessary to know what lurks in the darkness so we can conquer it and serve as a beacon of light. We must remember that the Church has weathered tougher storms. It’s how we respond to this scandal that will make all the difference.
Respond to the scandal with prayer and fasting
Through this crisis, God calls us to a greater reliance on Him. Our first response to such a scandal should be prayer and fasting, specifically and most importantly for the victims and their families. We must also pray for priests, seminarians, bishops, and cardinals—that any involved be brought into the light to serve their punishment and that those who are innocent have the strength and courage to persevere and care for their flocks.
Join in the Novena for the Abuse Crisis by PrayMoreNovenas.com or the 54-day rosary novena for our nation. Make a spiritual bouquet for the priests at your parish to encourage them during this time. Give up something you love—a cup of coffee, a hot shower, a meal—so that the tender souls who have been betrayed and harmed may feel God’s loving presence and healing in their lives.
Hold fast to our mother, the Church
Many people, especially young people, may walk away from the Church during this time. But you and I know that we can’t just walk away and leave the Church. We must never walk away from the Bride of Christ because of what sinners have done.
Moving forward, we must protect those who have been hurt and make sure this doesn’t happen again. Learn all you can, find a training session, and prepare yourself so you can help be a part of the solution.
Have frank conversations about the scandal
Be honest with your friends and neighbors as conversations arise. People need to hear that the Church will withstand this evil as long as the faithful hold fast to her teachings and roll up their sleeves to be a part of the solution. Be prepared to respond to harsh comments about the Church with compassion for the victims, focusing on how we can work together to make sure that this never happens again.
Be frank with your children. How much you tell them is up to you, but know that, especially if they are in school, they will likely hear about this. Teach them safe boundaries with others. Even if talking with your children about safety is already a part of your parenting, this crisis should still be a wake-up call to be even more vigilant, open, and honest about threats to their purity and hearts.
Our students and our children need truth. They need us to provide them with a moral compass so that they may learn to find their way in this ever-changing world. They need to be reminded daily that they are valuable and that God loves them. They need to be taught that human life has dignity and value—regardless of age, ability, or any other criteria. They need to learn that there is value in suffering so they do not give in to despair. They need to learn how to defend their faith, their pro-life values, marriage, and family, and they need to learn how to persevere even when all seems lost. Now is an especially important time in our history to make certain that our children are armed with age-appropriate knowledge and truth.
Our hearts break for the victims and the innocent who are suffering. There are no words; there is just prayer and hope for a brighter future. We join you all in prayer for our Church, our seminarians, our priests, bishops, cardinals, the Holy Father, and for those who are hurting, confused, and feeling betrayed.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at cultureoflifestudies.com/blog/churchscandal/.