Unwavering Faith Despite the Scandal
By Judie Brown
These are trying times for Catholics as we witness the ongoing revelations of alleged sexual abuse among members of the clergy. Monsignor Charles Pope has written that the way we move toward healing must include an honest discussion of homosexuality in the priesthood.
Active Homosexuality in the Priesthood Helped Cause This Crisis https://t.co/zEbkhTvieO
— Msgr. Charles Pope (@MsgrPope) August 18, 2018
While we agree with this assessment, there is more that we must do. We are obliged to keep our priorities in order and to understand that, in the midst of these devastating reports, our way forward remains rooted in hope and trust in Christ, who is Truth.
We must not become discouraged, but rather we must be imbued with confidence that where there is devastation of this sort there is always even greater reason to be joyful in Christ.
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Father Sean Connolly accurately said that while “the priests and bishops who have committed grave sin and heinous crimes are guilty of causing scandal, which is an act of spiritual murder” it is equally true that “we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the temptation of being so scandalized that we lose the Faith and leave the Church. To do so would be spiritual suicide.”
That life is not what we want for ourselves or for our loved ones, as we are a people of hope and trust in Christ. Saint John XXIII taught: “Christianity is not that complex system of oppressive rules which the unbeliever describes; it is peace, joy, love, and a life which is continually renewed, like the mysterious pulse of nature at the beginning of spring. We must assert this truth as confidently as the Apostles did, and you . . . must be convinced of it, for it is your greatest treasure, which alone can give meaning and serenity to your daily life.”
It serves us well during these days of uncertainty, twisted narratives about the Church, and all manner of illogical “reporting” to keep our eye on Christ. Wicked half-truths and innuendos will never change our mission as pro-life Catholics. God calls us to focus on what really matters—that every human being from his inception is a gift from Him to be loved, to be affirmed, and to be nurtured. We must persist in our efforts to end the vicious murder of preborn children and to protect marriages and families, for every family “is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church.” It is a self-contained wellspring of hope for the future of mankind. Families must gather together in prayer, especially in saying the Rosary, always secure in the fact that “she who is the mother of Christ and of the Church is in a special way the mother of Christian families, of domestic churches.”
Every one of us is called to be an evangelist for these truths in our families, in our communities, and in the Church herself, never forgetting that in the power of the Eucharist—the real presence of Christ—we experience the source and summit of our faith.
We praise God for the courage and steadfastness of holy men of God, including Albany, New York’s, bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who wrote to his priests:
Blessed Pope Paul VI prophetically warned us in Humanae Vitae of the long-range consequences of the separation of sexuality and sexual behavior from the conjugal relationship. Contemporary culture in our part of the world now holds it normative that sex and sexual gratification between any consenting persons for any reason that their free wills allow is perfectly acceptable. . . .
All of us who are ordained to preach what the Church teaches must practice what we preach and teach. We also need to uphold what our faith proclaims about the gift and beauty of human sexuality, fully lived in its essential conjugal meaning. A culture of virtue and chastity—in short, personal holiness—rooted in a trusting and committed relationship with Jesus Christ is the path toward healing and wholeness, even as we seek to drive the evil behaviors among us from the womb of the Church.
May we too strive for personal holiness in our lives, in our families, in our communities, and in our pro-life work as we share these truths with others.
The Lord is with us and we must surge forward with unwavering faith, praising God and celebrating His gift of life and His real presence in the Eucharist.
Learn the facts.
Teach the truth.
Protest the evil.
image: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston via Flickr | CC-2.0