Here we are again learning how the leadership in the Church has wounded it’s faithful, and again has tried to cover it up. We also have a pope that is accused of covering it up and turning a blind eye. While everyone is due a just trial and is innocent until proven guilty (in America), the shuffling around and improper reporting is destroying the lives of victims and wounding the Church. It is so heartbreaking and all victims need our prayers. While this time in our Church history hurts, here is why it is necessary and is for good.
Evil must be rooted out
The Church that Jesus gave us is perfect, it is the people in it who are sinners. Every time we sin, we are wounding the Body of Christ just like the solider who scourged him. The wounds that cut the deepest are those who are committed by those called to a holy life because also they hurt God’s faithful. They must be held accountable for their sins, both to God and their victims.
Sin hurts us all
We are hurt not only because our Church is under attack, but also some will lose their faith in God. The devil will always attack our Church and our faith. He also attacks those closest to God. Just look at the evil in Jesus’ inner circle! The apostles were devastated by what Judas did to Jesus. There is no sin that just hurts only one, but the whole body of the Church is suffering. Those faithful to Jesus feel the hurt of the victims!
God hates sin
With God it is black and white, sin is sin. It always comes between our relationship with God. God is pure light and He will always bring to light evil, especially within His Church.
God’s timing is perfect
While it may seem like it took too long for this sin to come out, it happened at this time according to his plan. God allows those who are tempted to sin a chance to repent, and he gives us those chances over and over. There is a point where he says “it is enough” and the sin comes out. This is the time to clean out the temple.
Hardship brings us closer to God
When we feel like there is no other place to go, we must run to our Lord. He is always good. There are still holy priests who will give us the sacraments and help heal the Church. While he gives us the free will to sin, we must choose to not suffer on our own but tell Him our hurt and sorrow.
Go to Church for Jesus
We should never go to Church for a priest. They are just men. The Lord called them to the priesthood to be our path to him, but again, they are sinners just like us. We always must go to Church for Jesus alone, for he is our redeemer.
Come forward and speak until someone listens
If we are a victim of a crime, it may be difficult to come forward and report it. We may be embarrassed, scared, blame ourselves, or even feel threatened by the perpetrator. As a Catechist of 2nd graders, I teach there is no secret that should be kept from your parents and if someone says you must keep this secret, you have to tell those trusted adults immediately, even if you think you’ll get in trouble. This is true if you are in second grade or in high school, or even as an adult! If you tell someone something happened, and they do nothing, keep telling people until someone follows up. If you are afraid, bring a friend for support. Do whatever it takes to report any crime. It only takes one person who keeps talking to bring to light these horrific crimes. This may bring justice to other victims afraid to talk. This will prevent future victims.
Time for forgiveness
This is probably the most difficult point for many reasons.
We must be willing to accept that if a sinner is truly sorry for their sins, makes a good Reconciliation, does their penance and “sins no more,” God will forgive them. We as humans feel like this sin or that sin is beyond forgiveness. But God is good and always allows a sinner to be reconciled. This doesn’t mean that those who ask for forgiveness don’t deserve to go to trial and get punished for their crimes.
We are also called to forgive as God forgives, especially those who sin against us and who may or may not be sorry for their sins or what they did to us. How do we forgive them? We look up at the crucifix and see what our perfect Lord did for our sins and understand that he also did this for all the other sins in the world.
We can be mad, upset and angry
Jesus was justifiably angry at those who were desecrating the temple of God! He threw out the evil so that all that was left were those who loved God. Anger is not sin when it is justified against sin. Even if we weren’t one of the victims of these priests, we are hurt and mad. Priests have gone and spoken before their congregations, angry and crying, because they are hurt by what others wearing the same collar are doing. Be angry at the evil, but don’t turn away from Jesus.
Purification leads to holiness
When we root out sin, we then look closer to all sin and start to detest everything evil. We can look at our own lives and ask for forgiveness where we might have failed. When we purify ourselves we can focus upon Jesus who came to take away those sins. It will make us stronger in our faith and draw us closer to God.
Our Church is going through a period of trial, and we must trust that the Lord is doing as he stated in this parable written in Matthew 13:24-30.
The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat
He put before them another parable:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
We are outraged that the weeds are right there leading our Church, but at the harvest, the Lord will have them gathered and burned for the evil they spread. Please trust in the Church that Jesus built and don’t be discouraged and lured away because of the weeds.