Never kid yourselves into thinking what is can’t get worse. It can always get worse.
That’s not intended to discourage you but instead promote gratitude for the good things in our lives. “At least you have your health” is a cliché for a reason: It’s true. Sure, money’s tight, but you have healthy kids. You lost your job? At least you have a degree and the experience to help you find another. Everyone else is taking a vacation but you? At least you have a home with a full refrigerator.
This is not to downplay true suffering, but you can hear from the words of those who’ve endured deep pain that all is never lost. There is always a reason to be grateful in dark hours, and a reason for hope.
Right now, the Catholic Church is in a dark hour.
Read the following, and see if you interpret Pope Francis’ language the way I did:
In these times, it seems like the “Great Accuser” has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The “Great Accuser”, as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, “roams the earth looking for someone to accuse”. A bishop’s strength against the “Great Accuser” is prayer, that of Jesus and his own, and the humility of being chosen and remaining close to the people of God, without seeking an aristocratic life that removes this unction. Let us pray, today, for our bishops: for me, for those who are here, and for all the bishops throughout the world.
It appears we have a pattern:
Pope Francis commissioned a four-book study in 2010 as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires attacking sexual abuse victims and defending a priest convicted of molesting a teenage boy.
Francis, who was then known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, asked a lawyer and jurist by the name of Marcelo Sancinetti to carry out a more than 2,600-page study encompassing four volumes for the Argentinian Episcopal Conference to discredit the alleged victims of Father Julio César Grassi.
The volumes described the victims as “false accusers” and claimed their accusations were just ways of projecting their own sexual desires on Grassi, who was convicted of sexually abusing a boy at his Happy Children Foundation — an organization dedicated to rescuing homeless children — and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
So it’s not that there have been decades of predation and sexual sin – flat out demonic acts like recreating the crucifixion or gargling with holy water after a sex act — across Catholic and Protestant dioceses around the world. And it’s not that there have been massive cover-ups to protect the perpetrators. No, in Pope Francis’ words, it’s that Satan has come out to falsely accuse bishops. Oh, and pray for us.
What we see here is some of the worst evil imaginable, and the promoting of it in the name of not rocking the boat. Justice in this life or the next will be served. But I’m pleading with you, the faithful and those with no faith: Understand that these acts are not doctrinal. In other words, none of the evil committed by these monsters is directly connected to anything Jesus or God himself has revealed directly or through intermediaries. Faith, hope, and love remain. No man can alter that, ever.
I hope these horrific revelations bring greater certainty to everyone that humans are not inherently good. We are capable of both good and evil, and it’s all a decision.
So what do the faithful do? Money talks, bullsh-t walks. In the spirit of solving this problem, think globally, and act locally. Whatever money you give to your church, you have the right to ensure it’s directed toward the operations of the church alone – not, for instance, to the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal.
Make it clear to your pastor, parochial vicar, and all staff that as for you and your house, assaults or any other illegal behavior (including obstruction of justice) will not be tolerated, and the accused will be turned over to the rightful authority for due process. If found not guilty, they can be welcomed back if circumstances warrant. If found guilty, the convicted will go to prison like everyone else.
Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/man-standing-looking-male-sky-945438/