(This Blog is Part 1 in a 3-part series on the Catholic shepherds’ sex abuse scandal.)
“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock….” Jeremiah 23:1
By: Brigid Curtis Ayer
Yep! “Woe to the shepherds who misled and scatter the flock…” Preach it Jeremiah! I am writing this blog post as many faithful Catholic friends of mine are talking and asking for understanding and perspective on this Catholic shepherd sex abuse crisis. I found a very good perspective by Father John Hollowell on his YouTube channel , I’d like to share with you which gave me hope and encouragement.
The recently exposed sex abuse scandal involving former U.S. Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, DC, and priests and bishops of the Catholic Church evokes feelings of shock, anger, outrage, sorrow, bewilderment, embarrassment and, yes, utter disgust!! I admit to feeling all of the above (and many a Catholic has shared the same with me). I’ve asked myself how in the world could this happen, AGAIN????? Or is it again? Or is it just more the same horror story that broke in the mid to late 1990’s, but now just being discovered? I’m not sure, maybe a little of both. I have not yet had a chance to read the lengthy report by the Pennsylvania grand jury on the scandal involving the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and surrounding dioceses in Pennsylvania, but media reports of the document and some of the lurid details of the sickening, perverse behavior of trusted clergy with innocent children are enough to make one either cry, vomit, or perhaps vomit, then cry.
- Sin is nothing new.
Sin is nothing new. It has devastating effects on the individuals who engage in it, those in its immediate wake, and the society at large. Sin doesn’t happen in isolation, but affects everyone as we can so clearly see in this recent scandal. Sin has been around from the beginning of time. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, sin and rebellion against God have been with us. Jesus knew scandals would come. (Lk 17:1) Jesus even chose Judas as an apostle even though He knew Judas would betray Him. Why?
I do not know the answer to Jesus’ selection of Judas, nor do I know how old or widespread these problems of sexual abuse among some of the Catholic shepherds are. It’s hard to really know with certainty. I don’t think we have all the facts, but one case of sexual abuse by a Catholic shepherd, no matter how long ago it happened, is one WAY TOO MANY!!!
About a week ago, I was surfing YouTube to listen to couple of my preferred priests who have channels. I heard a very good homily worth listening to on this topic. I’m not surprised it comes from one of my favorite priests, Father John Hollowell.
2. How to respond to Scandal?
In the face of grave sin and infidelity, one has the choice to pack it up and jump ship, (which is a common initial, and legitimate feeling or desired reaction) or one can choose to become even MORE faithful to the call to holiness. Father John Hollowell invites us, “to run back into the burning building” of the Church because she needs us now! Yes. Fidelity to Christ, and His teachings as passed down and guarded by the Catholic Church, is one way to respond to this horrific situation, even if some of the leaders were, are, or will be, wolves in sheep’s clothing.
3. Evil Attempts to Destroy the Catholic Church
My husband reminded me of the scripture quote from Mt. 16:18 where Jesus says to Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He pointed out to me the idea that “The gates of hell will not prevail against it” implies there will be attempts to do just that. We are in the midst of that right now, attempts by hell to prevail. This is nothing new. Take a look at church history.
4. What are WE going to do about it?
The question for us now is how will we respond to this great diabolical attempt, scandal and crisis in the Church? Only you can answer that question. I echo Father John Hollowell, and invite all of you to prayerfully consider buckling up and running back into the burning building to help put the fire out, to rebuild. The Church needs us and the world needs us. Father John Hollowell, I accept your invitation. I’ve got my fire gear ready. I’m all in. I’m going in with you!! Who will join us?
If you haven’t clicked to listen to this yet, here is a homily to give you a perspective on the Catholic shepherd sex abuse scandal by Father John Hollowell that is WORTH LISTENING TO!!!!