We are currently in the most serious times in the recent life of the Catholic Church. In Rome, in the United States, and other parts of the Catholic world; stories of the cover up of misdeeds of an American Cardinal, involving Pope Francis; the findings of a Pennsylvania grand jury on clergy abuse of children; and reports of sexual misconduct in an Archdiocesan seminary have filled the air ways. And we now have bishops calling for the resignation of Pope Francis.
And in the midst of all, I cannot yet put fingers to keyword, and write my own reactions, my own reflections on what is happening now! How does all this negative news affect me? Because I am, as a deacon, a member of the clergy; although our lives are divided among family, work, and service to the Church. I am not really that plugged in to the clerical culture. So how do I react, one foot in Church “culture;” the other in the “real’ world? I have not quite figured that out yet, so my fingers are still. For the moment.
Even in the best of times, it has been difficult to write and post anything on this blog recently. This is especially true these past days. I may have been like many of my American Catholic brothers and sisters, thinking that we, as a Church, at least in this country, were beginning to climb out of the clergy sex abuse hole.
Then came two gut punches that shook our complacency; the results of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury investigation, and charges of sexual misconduct and harassment at the Archdiocese of Boston seminary. It speaks to a total failure of the hierarchy to act; and to come clean about those failures to act.
It appears also that this is not just an American Catholic problem; that there are other tragedies, in other countries, to be revealed.
It speaks to a need for lay action, for laity to demand independent investigation, accountability and reform. We can no longer be silent, we need to demand that those who accept the role of “shepherd” in a diocese, take the care of their people as primary; and not the pomp and circumstance!
I am writing this on my IPhone, started this morning because I felt compelled to write something about what is happening in the Church. I am finishing it now on a home bound train. I hope to write more about my feelings on this; my fears, anger, distress, and, yes, hope!