In light of all the information that has come out with the grand jury report from Pennsylvania I have been at a loss for words. I am disgusted, angry and overwhelmed. My church has betrayed me and I don’t know where to go from here. Sometimes, it seems easier to stick my head in the sand and hide and let wiser, more knowledgeable people take the reins of this crisis and try to reel it in.
But I can’t let that happen. I may not be an expert about the inner workings of my diocese but what I am is a member of this flock. I am a mother to three children who I plan to raise in this faith because I want to save their souls and make them saints and I refuse to allow satan and his evil stop me. But what do we do? What can I, the little lamb that I am, do to change anything?
I’ve been reading the report in it’s entirety. I consider it a kind of penance because it disgusts and terrifies me. All of it is horrible but there are no words for the evils committed by the bishops who were supposed to preside over these men. They went out of their way to cover up the evidence, minimize the allegations, protect the priests and set them loose in parish after parish without any warning of the evil they were capable of.
I know many priests and they have all expressed disgust, shame and horror. Many of them have taken to prayer and fasting as reparation for the sins of their brothers. One asked why anyone could still love a priest after all of this madness. Another asked that God allow him to suffer in the place of the victims. They all say that any difficulties that they may personally suffer as a result of these sweeping accusations are a small price to pay in the face of the evil perpetrated against the innocent children who should have been able to look up to their priests.
My bishop released a four paragraph statement in conjunction with other bishops in our state telling us how many background checks they’ve run and how sorry they are. Let’s just say I’m not impressed.
So where do we go from here? We need to not only seek out and punish the perpetrators of these crimes to the fullest extent of the law, we need to raise up and defend the priests who are doing the real work of saving souls. We need to deal with the work that is in front of us. I have to deal with the priests in front of me. I am blessed and grateful to have three absolutely amazing priests running my parish. I need to get to know them better. I need to offer them my support, volunteer for our ministries, and pray for and love them. I want to give them the strength they need to stand up to corruption. I want to encourage them to not only report indecent priests, but the crooked bishops who protect them. I want them to know that they are not alone, that their flocks are standing behind them and that together, we can save our church.
This is a small change, a small step. But it’s what I am personally capable of and I believe that if enough of us band together and say “no more” than it can be the catalyst for great change.
We must pray for our church my friends. We must pray for the victims. We must pray for our priests. The rest we must leave to God.