As I prepare to fill my church envelope this morning, I cannot help but think that if Catholics across the country were to make a statement. let us say on Pentecost Sunday and to turn in an empty envelope with the message “remember” or “reform” or ‘repent” or some other good “r” word, that those in charge would take notice immediately. Because I fear that what will happen otherwise is nothing. The institution and those that are well versed in it are always prepared to ride out the storm, thinking (or we might say knowing) that most people forget rather quickly. Most pundits seem to agree that this crisis will not go that route.
A very orthodox priest and member of Opus Dei, Father John McCloskey has said that this is a new “reformation.”
The question is who will take charge of the reforming?
Cardinal Law has said that he will stay, but all reports say that he has gone into seclusion. If that is truly the case than the Archdiocese of Boston is in big trouble. They are truly, sheep without a shepherd. The wolf has come and the shepherd is in seclusion (in some ways one might say that he has been for his entire time there). The Cardinal’s conservative stands are being attacked and he is nowhere defending his inconsistent behavior in being strong and determined when it comes to smashing dissent but weak and even an accomplice when it comes to covering up the actions of priests (liberal priests like Shanley even). So the voices raised in the Boston Archdiocese amount to “the Cardinal fired a nun for wearing a stole but allowed a priest who abused children to be moved around the diocese and around the country (with a glowing recomendation),” while former mayor Ray Flynn defends the Cardinal staying for the “good” of the church. Who is going to take charge of this reform?
Consevative Catholics need to speak out loudly about what matters–our faith in Christ!
When St. Francis dealt with evil priests he focused on Christ. He told his followers to reverence priests (even bad ones) because God would take care of them. For Francis this wasn’t some futuristic escape from the problem, as accounts of his life prove. A priest, who we are told lived an impure lifestyle (it is left to our sordid imagination to fill in the details of what “impure”means here), contracted an illness that had him at the brink of death. He asked to be carried to Saint Francis that he might be blessed by him. This was done. St. Francis was reluctant to bless him because he warned him that once he was healed Francis feared that he would go back to his “vomit.” Francis warned him, that if this was the case that God would punish him and he would suffer worst torments than he was suffering presently. The priest pleaded with Francis to be healed, Francis blessed him and the man got up freed from his disease but went back to impure lifestyle. A short while later, the roof of his house collapsed upon him in bed and he died a painful death. The followers of Francis remembered what Francis had told the priest.
If we are really believers, we will start praying like our prayers can and really do matter. We will be careful to speak out as followers of Christ, condemning sin but welcoming the repentant sinner. We will not contribute to the corruption in the Church by financing it, in fact we would be better off diverting our contributions to the poor.
I am quick to judge, it is my greatest sin. I need to be just as quick to turn to God who alone is the judge. I need to turn to God, not only to plead his forgiveness for my many sins and failings, but to pour out to him all that troubles me, because I know that God alone can save me and us!
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