These past few weeks have been difficult for priests, the Catholic faith, and of course the people of God. I’ve received a good number of emails from people who are disgusted, angry and ready to leave the Catholic Church. One even wrote, explaining, “I’m going to feel so good not having to wake up on Sundays just to go to Mass… I’ve lost all my faith in the church”!
My initial reaction is to be “defensive” and try to defend the good work that the Catholic Church has done. Perhaps I could critique this person’s rationale, and encourage them not to go to Church because of the priests or bishops, but because of the Eucharist. But in all honesty, I’ve been just dealing with this crisis as an opportunity for more prayerful reflection, for more personal conversion and to become more balanced in how I receive all of this bad and sad news! These past few weeks have required me to take prayer even more seriously. It’s the only way I can keep the peace in my own heart, as a priest TRYING to do God’s will and trying not to let all of this horrible and evil news to overwhelm what God can do for the Church carrying this major burden.
This week, I was refreshed by the interview I had on “Shoot the Shiitake with Fr. Leo” – a priest who I’ve never met, except on Twitter, ordained 20 years after me, but nonetheless provides me with hope and another perspective about this horrible situation.
I realize that the sex abuse scandal within our Church’s leaders can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. It can even seemingly destroy people’s faith, almost giving people an excuse to abandon practicing their faith. But now more than ever, the Church needs to come together to support one another, to hold each other accountable, and to keep our focus on the one who will help make sense of this craziness!
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